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Areas: Philosophy of Science

Dyke | Maddy


Dyke,# H. & Maclaurin, J.  (2002)  ‘Thank Goodness That’s Over: The Evolutionary Story. Ratio 15 (3): 276–292.

Kw: b- theory of time

If, as the new tenseless theory of time maintains, there are no tensed facts, then why do our emotional lives seem to suggest that there are? This question originates with Prior’s ‘Thank Goodness That’s Over’ problem, and still presents a significant challenge to the new B-theory of time. We argue that this challenge has more dimensions to it than has been appreciated by those involved in the debate so far. We present an analysis of the challenge, showing the different questions that a B-theorist must answer in order to meet it. The debate has focused on the question of what is the object of my relief when an unpleasant experience is past. We outline the prevailing response to this question. The additional, and neglected, questions are, firstly – ‘Why does the same event elicit different emotional responses from us depending on whether it is in the past, present, or future?’ And secondly – ‘Why do we care more about proximate future pain than about distant future pain?’ We give B-theory answers to these questions, which appeal to evolutionary considerations.


Maddy,# P. (2008). How Applied Mathematics Became Pure.  Review of Symbolic Logic 1 (1): 16- 41.

Area: Philosophy of Science

Kw: Mathematics

This paper traces the evolution of thinking on how mathematics relates to the world—from the ancients, through the beginnings of mathematized science in Galileo and Newton, to the rise of pure mathematics in the nineteenth century. The goal is to better understand the role of mathematics in contemporary science.