Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Presentism, promises and privation

It appears that the presentist (and maybe even growing blocker) may not be able to accept either the privation theory of evil, which says that every evil is the lack of a due good, nor the privation theory of evilmaking, which says that every evil either is the lack of a due good or is made evil by the lack of a due good.

For suppose I promise you that one unspecified day I will do A for you. But it turns out that I never do it. That’s an evil, and intuitively it is an evil because of the lack of fulfillment of the promise, which sure sounds like a privation. But when do we have this evil? Either when I make the promise or at some later time. The nonexistence of future promise fulfillment isn’t the lack of a due good given presentism or growing block. For the nonexistence of future action A is automatic given presentism or growing block, and something automatic like that can’t be an evil. Another way to put the point is that something that would have to be future can’t be such as to be due to exist. Suppose, now, the evil is at some later time. But no later time is such that I ought on that day to do A, since the day for doing A was not specified, so on no day is my failure to do A a lack of a due good.

The growing blocker might at least say that at the last moment of my life the nonexistence of A during the present and past is the lack of a due good—but even that won’t work if I live forever and never do A.

The eternalist, on the other hand, can say that the non-existence of A throughout a finite or infinite interval of times can count as the lack of a due good, regardless of whether these times are past, present or future.

No comments: