The Evolutionary Origins of Tensed Language and Belief
I outline the debate in metaphysics between those who believe time is tensed and those who believe it is tenseless. I describe the terms in which this debate has been carried out, and the significance to it of ordinary tensed language and widespread common sense beliefs that time is tensed. I then outline a case for thinking that our intuitive beliefs about tense constitute an Adaptive Imaginary Representation (Wilson 1990, 1995). I also outline a case for thinking that our ordinary tensed beliefs and tensed language owe their tensed nature to its being adaptive to adopt a temporally self-locating perspective on reality. If these conclusions are right, then common sense intuitions and temporal language will be utterly misleading guides to the nature of temporal reality.
Keywords: evolution; time; tense; language
Research Type: Journal Article