Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||McTaggart gave the name “A-series” to “that series of positions which runs from the far past through the near past to the present, and then from the present through the near future to the far future, or conversely”; and the name “B-series” to “[t]he series of positions which runs from earlier to later, or conversely”.1 McTaggart’s rather bland labels have stuck, and been put to further use. The “determinations” (his word), or properties, being past, being present, and being future are generally called the “A-properties”. The relations of being earlier than, being later than, and being simultaneous with, are the “B-relations”. These days, philosophers are said to hold an “A-theory of time” or a “B-theory of time”, depending upon their attitudes to these properties and relations. Some philosophers suppose that there are objective distinctions between what is present and what is past and what is future. In order to tell the full truth about time, they think, one must advert to the A-properties. Naturally enough, such philosophers are called “A-theorists”. Although A-theorists disagree about many details, they agree that the present is distinguished from past and future in a deep and important way. Exactly how to describe this difference is a vexed question, and some philosophers have argued that would-be A-theorists inevitably fail to stake out a coherent position.2 I shall not attempt a full-scale defense of the coherence of the A-.|
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