The Past

Christopher Peacocke

in Being Known

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238607
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598197 | DOI:
 The Past

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Understanding statements containing the past tense involves tacit knowledge of the generalization of such principles as this: ‘Yesterday it rained’ is true if and only if yesterday had the same property as today is required to have for a present‐tense thought ‘It is now raining’ to be true when evaluated with respect to today. This is a variant of the truth‐value link. This tacit knowledge integrates with realism about the past because present‐tense statements are as categorical as their past‐tense counterparts and cannot be reduced to counterfactuals without circularity. An externalist model of the perception of temporal properties and relations can be given, one involving a constitutive sensitivity to instances of those temporal properties and relations themselves. This can contribute to an explanation of how memory supplies knowledge of the past.

Keywords: categorical; externalism; knowledge; memory; past; past tense; realism; truth‐value

Chapter.  26618 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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