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Other Times

Other Times
Philosophical Perspectives on Past, Present and Future

Part of Cambridge Studies in Philosophy

  • Date Published: October 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521592147


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About the Authors
  • We view things from a certain position in time: in our language, thought, feelings and actions, we draw distinctions between what has happened, is happening, and will happen. Frequently, approaches to this feature of our lives - those seen in disputes between tensed and tenseless theories, between realist and anti-realist treatments of past and future, and in accounts of historical knowledge - embody serious misunderstandings of the character of the issues; they misconstrue the relation between metaphysics and ethics, and the way to characterize the kind of sense which tensed language has. David Cockburn argues that the notion of 'reasons for emotion' must have a central place in any account of meaning, and that the present should have no priority in our understanding of tense. This allows for a more satisfactory articulation of the place of past, present and future in our thought, and of the form which criticism of our thought might take.

    • Offers a different approach by giving a place to emotion in its account of the meaning of tensed language
    • Understands what have traditionally been thought of as 'metaphysical' or 'ontological' disputes in ethical terms
    • Contains an extended discussion of the character of historical knowledge
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ''I think this is a splendid book. It is unusual, extraordinarily rich and sometimes, indeed, moving. It deserves a wide audience. Certainly it is not just a book for those with a specialist interest in the philosophy of time'. A. W. Moore, The Times Literary Supplement

    'Any philosopher needs a lot of passion to tackle such deeply frustrating questions. David Cockburn, who does so in his fine new book, also reveals that he is a very human philosopher as well' David Carr, History and Theory

    'Anyone interested in the philosophy of time must certainly read this excellent book. I have seldom enjoyed and respected a book so much with which I disagree so deeply'. Timothy Sprigge, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

    'David Cockburn's book … is an inspired, perceptive and engaging study which, one hopes, will motivate many to have another look at the philosophy of time and its interconnections with other themes in current philosophy.' Christoph Hoerl, Mind

    'I was … greatly stimulated by David Cockburn's remarkable book. His discussion is rich and subtle, covering a wide range of related issues, and drawing on countless examples from ordinary life to support his arguments. He has made a splendid case for shifting, or at least widening, the debate about tense to give ethical issues a central place, and his exploration of the relationship between tense and ethics represents a significant advance on previous work, notably by Nagel and Parfit. And the message which lies at the heart of the book demands our serious attention: that, if one abstracts the debate about the reality of tense and of other times from the human context which gives temporal talk its substantive content, one should not expect to derive consequences which have human significance'. Robin le Poidevin, Philosophical Investigations

    'Cockburn presents a fresh and stimulating perspective on issues to which there is a standard and well-worn approach. …. Cockburn raises lots of interesting and perceptive points, illustrated with and supported by a wide range of stimulating and striking examples. …. [E]very reader will find a great deal that is challenging and valuable in Cockburn's book.' Stephen Makin

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1997
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521592147
    • length: 370 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Time and Tense:
    1. Introduction
    2. Under the aspect of eternity
    3. The view from here
    4. Memory, emotions and the past
    5. The role of tense
    6. Tense and ontology
    7. The passage of time
    Part II. Past, Present and Future:
    8. The present
    9. The reality of the future
    10. Testimony, history and the real past
    Part III. Time and Eternity:
    11. Time and eternity in Spinoza and Weil

  • Author

    David Cockburn, University of Wales, Lampeter

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