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Cambridge change

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M etaphysics The Cambridge philosophers Russell and McTaggart argued that the criterion of change for an entity X is that the sentence “X is F” is true at time t 1 , and false at time t 2 . Peter Geach called a change according to this criterion a Cambridge change and argued that it need not be a real change.Suppose that the sentence “Socrates is taller than Theaetetus” was true when Socrates was 55 and Theaetetus was 15, but false five years later. Because Theaetetus grew taller, there was a Cambridge change in Socrates even if his height remained the same over this period. Socrates did not undergo a real change. A Cambridge change can occur because there is a real change elsewhere. Whenever there is a mere Cambridge change there must be a real change somewhere, but the converse is not true. Geach used this notion to explain the ascription of change to an unchanging God in virtue of God's relation to a changing created world. “An object O is said to ‘change’ in this sense if and only if there are two propositions about O, differing only in that one mentions an earlier and the other a later time, and one is true, and the other false. I call this an account of ‘Cambridge change’.” Geach, Truth, Love and Immortality ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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