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The Passage of Time

Edited by Stephan Torre (University of Aberdeen, Northern Institute of Philosophy)
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A-Theories of Time
  1. Roman Altshuler (2009). Agency and the A-Series. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):153-161.
    Debates between A-theorists and B-theorists about time often center on our experiential beliefs about reality. Because we experience events as past, present, or future, the A-theorists argue, a tenseless theory of time cannot account for reality. B-theorists, in response, have sought to painstakingly explain away every argument for the existence of A-properties on the basis of experience. Recently, the dominant strategy in this response has involved turning our attention away from our beliefs about experience and toward the truth-makers of those (...)
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  2. Miloš Arsenijević (2002). Determinism, Indeterminism and the Flow of Time. Erkenntnis 56 (2):123 - 150.
    A set of axioms implicitly defining the standard, though not instant-based but interval-based, time topology is used as a basis to build a temporal modal logic of events. The whole apparatus contains neither past, present, and future operators nor indexicals, but only B-series relations and modal operators interpreted in the standard way. Determinism and indeterminism are then introduced into the logic of events via corresponding axioms. It is shown that, if determinism and indeterminism are understood in accordance with their core (...)
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  3. Adrian Bardon (ed.) (2011). The Future of the Philosophy of Time. Routledge.

    The last century has seen enormous progress in our understanding of time. This volume features original essays by the foremost philosophers of time discussing the goals and methodology of the philosophy of time, and examining the best way to move forward with regard to the field's core issues.

    The collection is unique in combining cutting edge work on time with a focus on the big picture of time studies as a discipline. The major questions asked include:

    • What are (...)
    • Is the passage of time real, or just a subjective phenomenon?
    • Are the past and future real, or is the present all that exists?
    • If the future is real and unchanging (as contemporary physics seems to suggest), how is free will possible?
    • Since only the present moment is perceived, how does the experience as we know it come about? How does experience take on its character of a continuous flow of moments or events?
    • What explains the apparent one-way direction of time?
    • Is time travel a logical/metaphysical possibility?
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  4. Michelle Beer (2010). Tense and Truth Conditions. Philosophia 38 (2):265-269.
    The B-theory of time holds that McTaggart’s A-series of past, present, and future is reducible to the B-series of events running from earlier to later. According to the date-theory—originally put forth by J.J.C. Smart and later endorsed by by D.H. Mellor—the truth conditions of tensed or Asentence-tokens can be given in terms of tenseless or B-sentences and, therefore, A-sentence-tokens do not ascribe any A-determinations of pastness, presentness, or futurity. However, as Nathan Oaklander has argued, the date-theory does not provide an (...)
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  5. Michelle Beer (2007). On the Individual Essences of Moments of Time. Philo 10 (1):69-71.
    In “Can the New Tenseless Theory of Time be Saved by Individual Essences?” Smith objects to the co-reporting theory on the groundsthat, since it grants that every time “now” is tokened it expresses a unique individual essence of that time which can be apprehended only at that time, the co-reporting theory is consistent with an A-theory of time that holds that each moment of time acquires its own particular property of presentness. I argue that Smith’s conclusion does not follow, since (...)
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  6. Jiri Benovsky (2012). The Causal Efficiency of the Passage of Time. Philosophia 40 (4):763-769.
    Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world. In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere passage of time does (...)
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  7. C. Bourne (2005). Review: Time, Tense, and Reference. [REVIEW] Mind 114 (455):747-750.
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  8. C. Bourne (2002). When Am I? A Tense Time for Some Tense Theorists? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (3):359 – 371.
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  9. Craig Bourne (2004). Becoming Inflated. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):107-119.
    Some have thought that the process of the expansion of the universe can be used to define an absolute ‘cosmic time’ which then serves as the absolute time required by tensed theories of time. Indeed, this is the very reason why many tense theorists are happy to concede that special relativity is incompatible with the tense thesis, because they think that general relativity, which trumps special relativity, and on which modern cosmology rests, supplies the means of defining temporal becoming using (...)
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  10. David Braddon-Mitchell (2013). 10. Fighting the Zombie of the Growing Salami1. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:351.
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  11. David Braddon-Mitchell (2004). How Do We Know It is Now Now? Analysis 64 (3):199–203.
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  12. C. D. Broad (1923). Scientific Thought. Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    First published in 2000. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  13. Mikel Burley (2006). Beyond “Beyond a- and B-Time”. Philosophia 34 (4):411-416.
    This Article critically discusses Clifford Williams’ claim that the A-theory and B-theory of time are indistinguishable. I examine three considerations adduced by Williams to support his claim that the concept of time essentially includes transition as well as extension, and argue that, despite its prima facie plausibility, the claim has not been adequately justified. Williams therefore begs the question against the B-theorist, who denies that transition is essential. By Williams’ own lights, he ought to deny that the B-theory is a (...)
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  14. J. Butterfield (1984). Dummett on Temporal Operators. Philosophical Quarterly 34 (134):31-42.
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  15. J. Butterfield (1984). Seeing the Present. Mind 93 (370):161-176.
  16. Craig Callender (2000). Shedding Light on Time. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):599.
    Throughout this century many philosophers and physicists have gone for thc ‘big ki11’ regarding tenses. They have tried to show via McTaggart’s paradox and special relativity that tcnscs arc logically and physically impossible, rcspcctivcly. Ncithcr attempt succccds, though as I argue, both lcavc their mark. In thc iirst two sections of thc paper I introduce some conceptual difficulties for the tensed theory of time. The next section then discusses the standing 0f tenses in light of special relativity, cspccially rcccnt work (...)
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  17. Ross Cameron, How Can You Know You're Present?
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  18. James Cargile (1999). Proposition and Tense. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 40 (2):250-257.
    McTaggart assumed (1) that propositions cannot change in truth value and (2) if (a) there is real change, then (b) events must acquire the absolute property of being present and then lose this property. He held that {1,2b} is an inconsistent set and thus inferred 2a--that there is no real change. The B theory rejects 2 and the A theory rejects 1. I accept 1, 2, 2a, and consequently, 2b, and argue that this is consistent. There is an absolute property (...)
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  19. David Cockburn (1997). Other Times: Philosophical Perspectives on Past, Present, and Future. Cambridge University Press.
    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. Current 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 (...)
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  20. David Cockburn (1987). The Problem of the Past. Philosophical Quarterly 37 (146):54-77.
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  21. Spyridon George Couvalis (2013). Philoponus's Traversal Argument and the Beginning of Time. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) (Special Issue):68-78.
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  22. W. L. Craig (1999). On Truth Conditions of Tensed Sentence Types. Synthese 120 (2):265-270.
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  23. William Craig (2001). Tense and Temporal Relations. American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (1):85 - 97.
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  24. William Lane Craig (2000). The Tensed Theory of Time : A Critical Examination. Kluwer Academic.
    In this book and the companion volume The Tenseless Theory of Time: A Critical Examination, Craig undertakes the first thorough appraisal of the arguments for and against the tensed and tenseless theories of time.
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  25. William Lane Craig (1999). Tensed Time and Our Differential Experience of the Past and Future. Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):515-537.
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  26. Thomas Crisp (2006). Review of Kit Fine, Modality and Tense: Philosophical Papers. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (8).
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  27. Gregory Currie (1992). McTaggart at the Movies. Philosophy 67 (261):343 - 355.
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  28. Daniel Deasy (forthcoming). The Moving Spotlight Theory. Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    The aim of this paper is to describe and defend the moving spotlight theory of time. I characterise the moving spotlight theory as the conjunction of two theses: permanentism, the thesis that everything exists forever, and the A-theory, the thesis that there is an absolute, objective present time. I begin in Sect. 2 by clearing up some common misconceptions about the moving spotlight theory, focusing on the discussion of the theory in Sider (Writing the book of the world, Oxford University (...)
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  29. Natalja Deng (2013). Fine's Mctaggart, Temporal Passage, and the a Versus B‐Debate. Ratio 26 (1):19-34.
    I offer an interpretation and a partial defense of Kit Fine's ‘Argument from Passage’, which is situated within his reconstruction of McTaggart's paradox. Fine argues that existing A-theoretic approaches to passage are no more dynamic, i.e. capture passage no better, than the B-theory. I argue that this comparative claim is correct. Our intuitive picture of passage, which inclines us towards A-theories, suggests more than coherent A-theories can deliver. In Finean terms, the picture requires not only Realism about tensed facts, but (...)
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  30. Natalja Deng (2010). 'Beyond A- and B-Time' Reconsidered. Philosophia 38 (4):741-753.
    This article is a response to Clifford Williams’s claim that the debate between A- and B theories of time is misconceived because these theories do not differ. I provide some missing support for Williams’s claim that the B-theory includes transition, by arguing that representative B-theoretic explanations for why we experience time as passing (even though it does not) are inherently unstable. I then argue that, contra Williams, it does not follow that there is nothing at stake in the A- versus (...)
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  31. Dennis Geert Bernardus Johan Dieks (ed.) (2006). The Ontology of Spacetime. Elsevier.
    This book contains selected papers from the First International Conference on the Ontology of Spacetime. Its fourteen chapters address two main questions: first, what is the current status of the substantivalism/relationalism debate, and second, what about the prospects of presentism and becoming within present-day physics and its philosophy? The overall tenor of the four chapters of the book’s first part is that the prospects of spacetime substantivalism are bleak, although different possible positions remain with respect to the ontological status of (...)
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  32. Phil Dowe (2009). Every Now and Then: A-Theory and Loops in Time. Journal of Philosophy 106 (12):641-665.
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  33. Steven M. Duncan, In Defense of Temporal Passage.
    In this paper, I endorse and defend the Common Sense View of Time (CSVT), i.e. Presentism plus the A-theory of time, by arguing for the objective reality of temporal passage.
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  34. Heather Dyke (2002). Mc Taggart and the Truth About Time. In Craig Callender (ed.), Time, Reality and Experience. Cambridge University Press. 137-.
    McTaggart famously argued that time is unreal. Today, almost no one agrees with his conclusion. But his argument remains the locus classicus for both the A-theory and the B-theory of time. I show how McTaggart’s argument provided the impetus for both of these opposing views of the nature of time. I also present and defend what I take to be the correct view of the nature of time.
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  35. Heather Dyke (2002). Review of The Tensed Theory of Time by W. L. Craig. [REVIEW] International Philosophical Quarterly 42:404-406.
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  36. Heather Dyke (2002). Review of The Tensed Theory of Time. [REVIEW] International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3).
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  37. Heather Dyke (2001). The Pervasive Paradox of Tense. Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1):103-124.
    The debate about the reality of tense descends from an argument of McTaggart's,whichwas designed to prove the unreality of time.The argument has two constituent theses: firstly that time is intrinsically tensed, and secondly, that the notion of tense is inherently self-contradictory. If both of these theses are true, it follows that time does not exist. The debate that has emerged from this argument centres around the truth or falsity of each of these theses. A-theorists accept the first and reject the (...)
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  38. Heather Dyke (1995). Review of Language and Time by Q. Smith. [REVIEW] Mind 104:436-440.
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  39. Heather Dyke & Adrian Bardon (eds.) (2013). A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. J. Wiley.
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  40. Heather Dyke & James Maclaurin (2002). 'Thank Goodness That's Over': The Evolutionary Story. Ratio 15 (3):276–292.
    If, as the new tenseless theory of time maintains, there are no tensed facts, then why do our emotional lives seem to suggest that there are? This question originates with Prior’s ‘Thank Goodness That’s Over’ problem, and still presents a significant challenge to the new B-theory of time. We argue that this challenge has more dimensions to it than has been appreciated by those involved in the debate so far. We present an analysis of the challenge, showing the different questions (...)
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  41. Katalin Farkas (2008). Time, Tense, Truth. Synthese 160 (2):269 - 284.
    Abstract: A theory of time is a theory of the nature of temporal reality, and temporal reality determines the truth-value of temporal sentences. Therefore it is reasonable to ask how a theory of time can account for the way the truth of temporal sentences is determined. This poses certain challenges for both the A theory and the B theory of time. In this paper, I outline an account of temporal sentences. The key feature of the account is that the primary (...)
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  42. Matt Farr (2012). On A- and B-Theoretic Elements of Branching Spacetimes. Synthese 188 (1):85-116.
    This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...)
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  43. Kit Fine (2006). The Reality of Tense. Synthese 150 (3):399 - 414.
    I argue for a version of tense-logical realism that privileges tensed facts without privileging any particular temporal standpoint from which they obtain.
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  44. Kit Fine (2005). Modality and Tense. Oxford University Press.
    This is his eagerly-awaited first book in the area.
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  45. Kit Fine (2005). Tense and Reality. In , Modality and Tense. Oxford University Press. 261--320.
    There is a common form of problem, to be found in many areas of philosophy, concerning the relationship between our perspective on reality and reality itself. We make statements (or form judgements) about how things are from a given standpoint or perspective. We make the statement ‘it is raining’ from the standpoint of the present time, for example, or the statement‘it is here’ from the standpoint of where we are, or the statement ‘I am glad’ from the standpoint of a (...)
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  46. Graeme Forbes (2008). Critical Notice of Kit Fine's Modality and Tense: Philosophical Papers. Philosophical Review 117 (2):275-287.
    In this critical review I discuss the main themes of the papers in Kit Fine's Modality and Tense: Philosophical Papers. These themes are that modal operators are intelligible in their own right and that actualist quantifiers are to be taken as basic with respect to possibilist quantifiers. I also discuss a previously unpublished paper of Fine's on modality and existence.
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  47. Akiko M. Frischhut (2013). What Experience Cannot Teach Us About Time. Topoi:1-13.
    Does the A-theory have an intuitive advantage over the B-theory? Many A-theorists have claimed so, arguing that their theory has a much better explanation for the fact that we all experience the passage of time: we experience time as passing because time really does pass. In this paper I expose and reject the argument behind the A-theorist’s claim. I argue that all parties have conceded far too easily that there is an experience that needs explaining in the first place. For (...)
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  48. Richard M. Gale (1964). The Egocentric Particular and Token-Reflexive Analyses of Tense. Philosophical Review 73 (2):213-228.
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  49. Richard M. Gale (1962). Tensed Statements. Philosophical Quarterly 12 (46):53-59.
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  50. Nathaniel Goldberg (2004). McTaggart on Time. Logic and Logical Philosophy 13:71-76.
    Contemporary discussions on the nature of time begin with McTaggart, who introduces the distinction between what he takes to be the only two possible realist theories of time: the A-theory, maintaining that past, present, and future are absolute; and the B-theory, maintaining that they are relative. McTaggart argues against both theories to conclude that time is not real. In this paper, I reconstruct his argument against the A-theory. Then, I show that this argument is flawed. Finally, I draw a lesson (...)
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