Presentism and the Pain of the Past: A Reply to Orilia


  • Ernesto Graziani University of Macerata



emotions, ethics, ontology, presentism, time


In a series of recent papers Francesco Orilia has presented an argument for the moral desirability of presentism. It goes, in brief, as follows: since the existence of painful events is morally undesirable, presentism, which denies that past painful events (tenselessly) exist, is morally more desirable than non-presentism, which instead affirms that past painful events (tenselessly) exist. An objection against this argument, which has already been taken into consideration by Orilia, is the ugly history objection or radical objection: what really matters in the moral appraisal of a world is the history of it, and since the presentist and the non-presentist versions of our world share the same ugly history, they are morally on a par. This paper aims at corroborating this objection and defending it from Orilia’s criticisms. This will be done by bringing into play various thought experiments and a distinction between relevance (of an event or a fact about the occurrence of an event) to the moral evaluation of a world and moral (and psychological) involvement (in an event or in a fact about the occurrence of an event).