David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (1):69 – 82 (1999)
The apparent 'flow' of time is one of its most mysterious features, and one which discomforts both scientists and philosophers. One of the most striking assaults upon it is McTaggart's argument that the idea of temporal flow is demonstratively incoherent. In this paper I first urge that the idea of temporal flow is an important part of our intuitive understanding of time, underpinning several of our notions about rationality and time. Second, I try to undercut McTaggart's argument by showing that it is not temporal flow which is illusory but rather the vicious regress McTaggart saw in that idea. A steadfast clinging to the notion of now, along with an analysis of McTaggart's argument reveals that the regress halts after but two steps.
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