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Summary One of the central debates in the philosophy of time is between the A-theorists and the B-theorists. These unhelpful labels can be traced back to John McTaggart's distinction between the A-series and the B-series. The A-theory of time is typically associated with the idea that the present is metaphysically privileged or singled out in some way from past and future times. Furthermore, there is genuine flow of time as past events recede further and further into the past and future events move closer and closer to the present. The A-theorist holds that the properties of being past, being present and being future are fundamental to the nature of time. Presentism, the Growing Block Theory, and the Moving Spotlight Theory are all versions of the A-theory, providing different accounts of how the present is metaphysically distinguished. The B-theory of time, in contrast, denies that the present is metaphysically privileged over past and future times. Just as there is nothing metaphysically special about, say, London as opposed to Sydney, the B-theorist maintains that there is nothing metaphysically special about the present moment as opposed to, say, the year 1847 or 2157. 
Key works McTaggart introduces the A-series and the B-series in McTaggart 1908. Arthur Prior is one of the most important and influential A-theorists (see Prior 1968 and Prior 1967). Ned Markosian has done a great deal in formulating and defending the A-theory.  See his Markosian 1993 for one such defense. Dean Zimmerman provides an illuminating discussion of drawing the A-theory-B-theory distinction in Zimmerman 2005.
Introductions For good introductions to the A-theory of time, see Markosian 2010 and Zimmerman 2007
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  1. added 2020-04-05
    Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this paper I will argue that there is a version of possibilism—inspired by the modal analogue of Kit Fine’s fragmentalism—that can be combined with a weakening of actualism. The reasons for analysing this view, which I call Modal Fragmentalism, are twofold. Firstly, it can enrich our understanding of the actualism/possibilism divide, by showing that, at least in principle, the adoption of possibilia does not correspond to an outright rejection of the actualist intuitions. Secondly, and more specifically, it can enrich (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-05
    R. Cameron, The Moving Spotlight. An Essay on Time and Ontology, OUP, Oxford, 2015. [REVIEW]Samuele Iaquinto & Valerio Buonomo - 2017 - Argumenta 2:375-377.
  3. added 2020-04-03
    Comments on Zimmerman.Elisa Paganini - 2005 - Dialectica 59 (4):459-462.
    Dean Zimmerman focuses on the debate between a serious‐tenser B‐theorist and an eternalist A‐theorist concerning truth and truth‐conditions of tensed propositions. According to Zimmerman, the only way for the A‐theorist to distinguish herself from the B‐theorist is to argue for the non‐relative truth of tensed propositions denying some aspects of the doctrine of temporal parts. I claim instead that the A‐theorist can argue for the non‐relative truth of tensed propositions adopting tensed truth‐conditions incompatible with the B‐theorist's hypotheses.
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  4. added 2020-03-15
    On the Plurality of Times: Disunified Time and the A-Series.Ryan Nefdt - 2013 - South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):249-260.
    In this paper, I investigate the nature of the metaphysical possibility of disunified time. A possibility that I argue presents unique problems for those who adhere to a strict A-theory of time, particularly those A-theorists who propose a presentist view. The first part of the paper discusses various arguments against the coherence of the concept of disunified time. I attempt to discount each of these objections and show that disunified time is indeed a possible and consistent topology of time. Then, (...)
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  5. added 2020-03-10
    Presentism: Foreigner-Friendly or Xenophobic?Bryan Frances - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):479-488.
    I argue that, for all we know, there are perfectly ordinary actual entities that are temporal in the usual sense and yet never present, past, or future. This epistemic fact requires us to modify the theses of presentism and eternalism. More importantly, it generates three new and quite serious objections to presentism, which I formulate and partially evaluate in this paper.
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  6. added 2020-02-20
    Dynamic Absolutism and Qualitative Change.Bahadır Eker - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-11.
    According to Fine’s famous take on the infamous McTaggartian paradox, realism about tensed facts is incompatible with the joint acceptence of three very general and seemingly plausible theses about reality. However, Correia and Rosenkranz have recently objected that Fine’s argument depends on a crucial assumption about the nature of tensed facts; once that assumption is given up, they claim, realists can endorse the theses in question without further ado. They also argue that their novel version of tense realism, called dynamic (...)
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  7. added 2020-02-11
    Time, Tense, and Reference.Craig Bourne - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):747-750.
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  8. added 2020-02-07
    The Invisible Thin Red Line.Giuliano Torrengo & Samuele Iaquinto - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that the adoption of an unrestricted principle of bivalence is compatible with a metaphysics that (i) denies that the future is real, (ii) adopts nomological indeterminism, and (iii) exploits a branching structure to provide a semantics for future contingent claims. To this end, we elaborate what we call Flow Fragmentalism, a view inspired by Kit Fine (2005)’s non-standard tense realism, according to which reality is divided up into maximally coherent collections of tensed (...)
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  9. added 2020-02-06
    Can Time Flow at Different Rates? The Differential Passage of A-Ness.Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-26.
    According to the No Alternate Possibilities (NAP) argument, (1) if time passes then the rate at which it passes could be different but (2) time cannot pass at different rates, and hence (3) time cannot pass. Typically, defenders of the NAP argument have focussed on defending premise (1), and have taken the truth of (2) for granted: they accept the orthodox view of rate necessitarianism. In this paper we argue that the defender of the NAP argument needs to turn her (...)
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  10. added 2020-01-18
    The Passage of Time.Harold W. Noonan - 2015 - Metaphysica 16 (1):97–102.
    Eric Olson argues that the dynamic view of time must be false. It requires that the question ‘How fast does time pass?’ has an answer. But its only possible answer, one second per second, is not an answer. I argue that Olson has failed to identify what is wrong with talk of time’s passage. Then I argue that, nonetheless, he is right to reject it. To say that time passes is analogous to saying that space is dense, and to ask (...)
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  11. added 2020-01-17
    Time: A Philosophical Analysis.T. Chapman - 1982 - Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Co..
    This book is intended as an exposition of a particular theory of time in the sense of an interrelated set of attempted solutions to philosophical problems about it. Generally speaking there are two views about time held by philosophers and some scientists interested in philosophical issues. The first called the A-theory (after McTaggart's expression A-determinations for the properties of being past, present or future) is often thought to be closer to our commonsense view of time or to the concept of (...)
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  12. added 2019-12-15
    Two Fundamentally Different Perspectives on Time.Jesse Mulder - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (3):295-320.
    Frege taught us how to understand one form of predication: an atemporal one. There is also a different, temporal form of predication, which I briefly introduce. Accordingly, there are two fundamentally different approaches to time: a reductive one, aiming to account for time in terms of Frege’s atemporal predication, and a non-reductive one, insisting that the temporal form of predication is sui generis, and that time is to be understood in its terms. I do not directly argue for or against (...)
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  13. added 2019-12-08
    McTaggart Saves Schrodinger's Cat?Paul Merriam - manuscript
    This paper proposes an interpretation of time that is an 'A-theory' in that it incorporates both McTaggart's A-series and his B-series. The A-series characteristics are supposed to be 'ontologically private' analogous to qualia in the Inverted Spectrum thought experiment and is given a definition. The main idea is that the experimenter and the cat do not share the same A-series characteristics. So there is no single time at which the cat gets ascribed different states. It is proposed one may define (...)
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  14. added 2019-11-15
    Time, Physics, and Philosophy: It's All Relative.Sam Baron - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1).
    This article provides a non-technical overview of the conflict between the special theory of relativity and the dynamic theories of time. The chief argument against dynamic theories of time from relativistic mechanics is presented. The space of current responses to that argument is subsequently mapped.
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  15. added 2019-11-06
    Time Series and Non-Reductive Physicalism.Matias Kimi Slavov - 2019 - KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time 19 (1):25-38.
    McTaggart famously introduced the A- and B-series as rival metaphysical accounts of time. This paper shall reorient the debate over the original distinction. Instead of treating the series as competing theories about the nature of time, it will be argued that they are different viewpoints on a world that is fundamentally physical. To that end, non-reductive physicalism is proposed to reconcile the series.
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  16. added 2019-10-19
    Does the Temporal Asymmetry of Value Support a Tensed Metaphysics?Alison Fernandes - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    There are temporal asymmetries in our attitudes towards the past and future. For example, we judge that a given amount of work is worth twice as much if it is described as taking place in the future, compared to the past :796–801, 2008). Does this temporal value asymmetry support a tensed metaphysics? By getting clear on the asymmetry’s features, I’ll argue that it doesn’t. To support a tensed metaphysics, the value asymmetry would need to not vary with temporal distance, apply (...)
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  17. added 2019-09-26
    Unfreezing the Spotlight: Tense Realism and Temporal Passage.Fabrice Correia & Sven Rosenkranz - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):21-30.
    Realism about tense is the view that the contrast between what was, what is and what will be the case is real, and not merely a projection of our ways of thinking. Does this view entail realism about temporal passage, namely the view that time really passes, in the same sense of ‘real’? We argue that the answer is affirmative for many versions of tense realism, and indeed for all sensible versions. We thereby address an important conceptual issue regarding these (...)
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  18. added 2019-09-26
    The Delusive Illusion of Passage.Emiliano Boccardi & Federico Perelda - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):387-396.
    We argue that the view that we misperceive time as passing is self-undermining.
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  19. added 2019-09-12
    Schrodinger's Cat Meets McTaggart and the Problem of Other Minds.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    This paper proposes an interpretation of time that is an 'A-theory' in that it incorporates both McTaggart's A-series and his B-series. The A-series characteristics are supposed to be 'ontologically private' analogous to qualia in the problem of other minds and is given a definition. The main idea is that the experimenter and the cat do not share the same A-series characteristics, e.g the same 'now'. So there is no single time at which the cat gets ascribed different states. It is (...)
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  20. added 2019-09-12
    Explaining Temporal Qualia.Matt Farr - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):1-24.
    Experiences of motion and change are widely taken to have a ‘flow-like’ quality. Call this ‘temporal qualia’. Temporal qualia are commonly thought to be central to the question of whether time objectively passes: (1) passage realists take temporal passage to be necessary in order for us to have the temporal qualia we do; (2) passage antirealists typically concede that time appears to pass, as though our temporal qualia falsely represent time as passing. I reject both claims and make the case (...)
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  21. added 2019-08-29
    Imprints in Time: Towards a Moderately Robust Past.Michael Longenecker - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2429-2446.
    Presentism says that only present objects exist. But the view has trouble grounding past-tensed truths like “dinosaurs existed”. Standard Eternalism grounds those truths by positing the existence of past objects—like dinosaurs. But Standard Eternalism conflicts with the intuition that there is genuine change—the intuition that there once were dinosaurs and no longer are any. I offer a novel theory of time—‘The Imprint’—that does a better job preserving both the grounding and genuine change intuitions. The Imprint says that the past and (...)
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  22. added 2019-07-28
    Do the Folk Represent Time as Essentially Dynamical?Andrew James Latham, Kristie Miller & James Norton - manuscript
    Recent research (Latham, Miller and Norton, forthcoming) reveals that a majority of people represent actual time as dynamical. But do they, as suggested by McTaggart and Gödel, represent time as essentially dynamical? This paper distinguishes three interrelated questions. We ask (a) whether the folk representation of time is sensitive or insensitive: i.e., does what satisfies the folk representation of time in counterfactual worlds depend on what satisfies it actually—sensitive—or does is not depend on what satisfies it actually—insensitive, and (b) do (...)
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  23. added 2019-07-23
    From McTaggart to AdS_5 Geometry 2.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    The purpose of this note is to show how an 'AB-series' interpretation of time, given in a companion paper, leads, surprisingly, to AdS_5 geometry. This is not a theory of 2 time dimensions. Rather, it is a theory of 1 time dimension that has both A-series and B-series characteristics.
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  24. added 2019-07-22
    If Time Can Pass, Time Can Pass at Different Rates.Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    According to the No Alternate Possibilities argument, if time passes then the rate at which it passes could be different. Thus, time cannot pass, since if time passes, then necessarily it passes at a rate of 1 second per second. One response to this argument is to posit hypertime, and to argue that at different worlds, time passes at different rates when measured against hypertime. Since many A-theorists think we can make sense of temporal passage without positing hypertime, we pursue (...)
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  25. added 2019-07-17
    From McTaggert to AdS_5 Geometry.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    The purpose of this note is to show how an 'AB-series' interpretation of time, given in a companion paper, leads, surprisingly, directly to the physicists' important AdS5 geometry. This is not a theory of 2 time dimensions. Rather, it is a theory of 1 time dimension that has both B-series and A-series characteristics. -/- To summarize the result, a spacetime in terms of 1. the earlier-to-later aspect of time, and 2. the related future-present-past aspect of time, and 3. 3-d space, (...)
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  26. added 2019-07-09
    An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time.Sam Baron & Kristie Miller - 2018 - Cambridge: Polity Press.
    Time is woven into the fabric of our lives. Everything we do, we do in and across time. It is not just that our lives are stretched out in time, from the moment of birth to the moment of our death. It is that our lives are stories. We make sense of ourselves, today, by understanding who we were yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that; by understanding what we did and why we did it. Our memories (...)
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  27. added 2019-07-09
    Feel the Flow.Sam Baron - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2):609-630.
    The experience of temporal flow is, for many, the central—if not the only—reason for believing an A-theory of time. Recently, however, B-theorists have argued that experience does not, in fact, favor the A-theory. Call such an argument: a debunking argument. The goal of the present paper is to defend the A-theory against two prominent versions of the debunking argument.
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  28. added 2019-07-09
    Are There ‘Tensed’ Facts ?Edmund Runggaldier - 2006 - In Michael Stöltzner & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), Time and History: Proceedings of the 28. International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg Am Wechsel, Austria 2005. De Gruyter. pp. 77-84.
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  29. added 2019-07-09
    Language and Time.Quentin Smith - 1993 - Oup Usa.
    Quentin Smith offers powerful arguments against the New Theory of Reference propounded by leading thhinkers in the philosophy of language. Smith defends the tensed theory of time and argues that the simultaneity is absoltue, basing this position on the theory that all propositions exist in time. Using detailed propostitions and a theory of cognitive significance, he introduces an alternative interpretation of reference that will be relevant to metaphysicians, philosophers of science and philosophers of language and may come to be recognised (...)
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  30. added 2019-07-09
    Real Time.David H. Sanford - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (2):289.
  31. added 2019-06-13
    What Becomes of a Causal Set?Christian Wüthrich & Craig Callender - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv040.
    Unlike the relativity theory it seeks to replace, causal set theory has been interpreted to leave space for a substantive, though perhaps ‘localized’, form of ‘becoming’. The possibility of fundamental becoming is nourished by the fact that the analogue of Stein’s theorem from special relativity does not hold in causal set theory. Despite this, we find that in many ways, the debate concerning becoming parallels the well-rehearsed lines it follows in the domain of relativity. We present, however, some new twists (...)
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  32. added 2019-06-07
    Notes 2 A Theory of Time 6 7 2019.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    A theory of time was proposed in "A theory of time", an early version of which is on PhilPapers. The idea was that the A-series features of a physical system are ontologically private, and this was given a mathematical definition. Also B-series features are ontologically public. This brief note is a detailed rumination on path-integrals and Schrodinger's Cat, in this theory.
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  33. added 2019-06-06
    The A‐Theory of Time, The B‐Theory of Time, and ‘Taking Tense Seriously’.Dean W. Zimmerman - 2005 - Dialectica 59 (4):401-457.
    The paper has two parts: First, I describe a relatively popular thesis in the philosophy of propositional attitudes, worthy of the name ‘taking tense seriously’; and I distinguish it from a family of views in the metaphysics of time, namely, the A‐theories. Once the distinction is in focus, a skeptical worry arises. Some A‐theorists maintain that the difference between past, present, and future, is to be drawn in terms of what exists: growing‐block theorists eschew ontological commitment to future entities; presentists, (...)
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  34. added 2019-06-06
    The Tensed Theory of Time: A Critical Examination. [REVIEW]Heather Dyke - 2002 - International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):404-406.
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  35. added 2019-06-06
    Other Times: Philosophical Perspectives on Past, Present and Future. [REVIEW]Alexander R. Pruss - 2000 - Dialogue 39 (1):199-201.
    There is a basic dividing line in the philosophy of time. According to the B-theory, we can describe the temporal reality of the world with freely repeatable sentences, using designators of fixed times and relations such as "earlier" and "later." The A-theory contends that there is an ontological feature of the world which is described by explicitly tensed statements such as "I am now writing this review," and which is not captured by any B-theoretic statements such as "I write this (...)
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  36. added 2019-06-06
    Castañeda's Quasi-Indicators and the Tensed Theory of Time.Quentin Smith - 1991 - Critica 23 (67):59-73.
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  37. added 2019-06-06
    Tense and truth conditions.Graham Priest - 1986 - Analysis 46 (4):162.
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  38. added 2019-06-06
    Notes Toward a Theory of Time.Dwight Vate - 1973 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 11 (1-2):153-157.
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  39. added 2019-06-05
    The Passage of Time and its Enemies: An Introduction to Time and Reality II.Emiliano Boccardi - 2017 - Manuscrito 40 (1):5-41.
    ABSTRACT This essay is a critical introduction to the second part of the special issue Time and Reality. The volume contains responses to papers appeared in the first part, as well as many original articles. The aim of this introduction is to frame these works within the general arena of the philosophy of time, highlighting a number of recurrent themes. A central theme that emerges is a difficulty in pinning down the ontological structure underlying dynamicity and passage without postulating a (...)
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  40. added 2019-06-03
    What Experience Cannot Teach Us About Time.Akiko M. Frischhut - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):143-155.
    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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  41. added 2019-03-08
    Presentism, Passage, Phenomenology and Physicalism.Kristie Miller & Jane Weiling Loo - 2016 - Manuscrito 39 (4):183-201.
    ABSTRACT Temporal dynamists argue that we should believe that there exists temporal passage because there being passage is the best explanation for the presence of our temporal phenomenology. Presentists argue that presentism is the best version of temporal dynamism. Therefore, conditional on us accepting temporal dynamism, we should accept presentism. In this paper it is argued that if we understand temporal passage as the presentist does, such an argument can succeed only if dualism is true. Thus, we conclude, either presentists (...)
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  42. added 2019-02-14
    Towards an AB-Series Interpretation of Time in Physics.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    How can McTaggart's A-series notion of time be incorporated into physics while retaining the B-series notion? It may be the A-series 'now' can be construed as ontologically private. How is that modeled? Could a definition of a combined AB-series entropy help with the Past Hypothesis problem? What if the increase in entropy as a system goes from earlier times to later times is canceled by the decrease in entropy as a system goes from future, to present, to past?
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  43. added 2019-01-30
    The Moving Spotlight: An Essay on Time and Ontology, by Ross Cameron: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, Pp. X + 219, £35, $US60. [REVIEW]Maureen Donnelly - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):813-816.
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  44. added 2019-01-09
    Flow Fragmentalism.Giuliano Torrengo & Samuele Iaquinto - 2019 - Theoria 85 (3):185-201.
    In this paper, we articulate a version of non-standard A-theory – which we call Flow Fragmentalism – in relation to its take on the issue of supervenience of truth on being. According to the Truth Supervenes on Being (TSB) Principle, the truth of past- and future-tensed propositions supervenes, respectively, on past and future facts. Since the standard presentist denies the existence of past and future entities and facts concerning them that do not obtain in the present, she seems to lack (...)
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  45. added 2018-12-08
    The Unique Groundability of Temporal Facts.John Cusbert & Kristie Miller - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):410-432.
    The A-theory and the B-theory advance competing claims about how time is grounded. The A-theory says that A-facts are more fundamental in grounding time than are B-facts, and the B-theory says the reverse. We argue that whichever theory is true of the actual world is also true of all possible worlds containing time. We do this by arguing that time is uniquely groundable: however time is actually grounded, it is necessarily grounded in that way. It follows that if either the (...)
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  46. added 2018-11-28
    Eternal God: Divine Atemporality in Thomas Aquinas.John H. Boyer - 2014 - In Darci N. Hill (ed.), News from the Raven: Essays from Sam Houston State University on Medieval and Renaissance Thought. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: pp. 262-285.
    The recent trend among many philosophers of religion has been to interpret divine eternity as an everlasting temporality in which an omnitemporal God exists in and throughout the whole of time. This is in contrast to the classical account of divine eternity as atemporal, immutable existence. In this paper, Aquinas' use of Boethius's definition of eternity as “the whole, perfect, and simultaneous possession of endless life” is analyzed and explained in contradistinction to Aristotle's definition of time. This analysis is then (...)
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  47. added 2018-11-22
    The Elusive Appearance of Time.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2013 - In Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng & Rognvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Johanssonian Investigations. Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday. Ontos Verlag. pp. 304–316.
    In this paper I explain why philosophers have thought that the primary feature of our experience of time is that it is tensed and transitory, offer some reasons to doubt that time appears to us primarily in that way, and suggest instead that the main component of our experience of a temporal reality is of enduring objects in flux.
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  48. added 2018-11-02
    Diamonds Are Forever.Cian Dorr & Jeremy Goodman - forthcoming - Noûs.
    We defend the thesis that every necessarily true proposition is always true. Since not every proposition that is always true is necessarily true, our thesis is at odds with theories of modality and time, such as those of Kit Fine and David Kaplan, which posit a fundamental symmetry between modal and tense operators. According to such theories, just as it is a contingent matter what is true at a given time, it is likewise a temporary matter what is true at (...)
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  49. added 2018-09-06
    Presentness, Where Art Thou? Self-Locating Belief and the Moving Spotlight.Kristie Miller - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):777-788.
    Ross Cameron's The Moving Spotlight argues that of the three most common dynamical theories of time – presentism, the growing block theory and the moving spotlight theory – his version of the MST is the best. This paper focuses on Cameron's response the epistemic objection. It considers two of Cameron's arguments: that a standard version of the MST can successfully resist the epistemic objection, and that Cameron's preferred version of the MST has an additional avenue open to it for resisting (...)
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  50. added 2018-08-24
    The Cresting Wave: A New Moving Spotlight Theory.Kristie Miller - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1):94-122.
    One argument for the moving spotlight theory is that it better explains certain aspects of our temporal phenomenology than does any static theory of time. Call this the argument from passage phenomenology. In this paper it is argued that insofar as moving spotlight theorists take this to be a sound argument they ought embrace a new version of the moving spotlight theory according to which the moving spotlight is a cresting wave of causal efficacy. On this view it is more (...)
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