During Karen Bennett’s talk at the UT Austin conference, she said something that I think is worth repeating, again and again. It isn’t even that big a point. In discussing presentism (or actualism, I forget which she was discussing at the time) she said something to defuse/dodge an objection from Occam’s razor. I think it was in the context of using objects as proxies for the tensed-objects/possibilia that one loses if one is a presentist/actualist. She said, roughly, that Occam’s razor mandates that one avoid multiplying entities beyond necessity, not that one must make do with less. Occam’s razor is applicable once you’ve determined what things are necessary and what things you’re attempting to smuggle in. Before those are settled, the possibility of doing without one or another entity, e.g. by using some sort of proxy, shouldn’t force one to abandon the stuff that has proxies. Small point, but it seems like it is worth keeping in mind. Some of the discussions I’ve had about Grice’s arguments against exclusive “or” in natural language seem to come down to the other person saying, look we can explain away exclusive “or” using the inclusive one, so we don’t need the exclusive one by Occam’s razor. But, this assumes that we’ve already determined what meanings are necessary and can begin shaving off the excess.

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