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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.  According to the B-theory of time, the present is not metaphysically distinguished in any way from 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. Some B-theorists deny that time really flows or passes, while others argue that passage can be accommodated within a framework where all times are metaphysically on par. The A-theory of time, in contrast, maintains that the present is metaphysically privileged in some way and the properties of being past, being present and being future are fundamental to the nature of time.
Key works Two classic papers presenting and defending the B-theory of time are Williams 1951 and Smart 1963. D. H. Mellor is one of the most influential defenders of the B-theory. See his Mellor 1981 and Mellor 1998.  An important collection of papers defending the B-theory is Oaklander & Smith 1994.
Introductions For good introductions to the B-theory of time, see Markosian 2010 and Smart 2008.
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  1. Two-Dimensional Time.Michael Kowalik - manuscript
    Philosophical views about the logical structure of time are typically divided between proponents of A and B theories, based on McTaggart's A and B series. Drawing on Paul Ricoeur's hermeneutic phenomenology, I develop and defend McTaggart's thesis that the C series and the A series working together give a consistent description of temporal experience, provided that the two series are treated as distinct dimensions internal to time. In the proposed two-dimensional model, the C series expresses a nesting order of the (...)
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  2. 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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  3. Time Flows at 1 B-Second Per A-Second.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    I suggest time flows at 1 B-series second per A-series second.
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  4. The Temporal Knowledge Argument 2.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    How does the temporal knowledge argument fair when exposed to Chalmers' 2-dimensional analysis of the knowledge argument?
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  5. B-Theory.Bakytzhan Oralbekov - manuscript
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  6. Tensed Truth Conditions And Tensed Truth.Jason Sender - unknown - Yeditepe'de Felsefe (Philosophy at Yeditepe) 4.
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  7. Time, Metaphysics Of.Natalja Deng - forthcoming - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Metaphysics is the part of philosophy that asks questions about the nature of reality – about what there is, and what it is like. The metaphysics of time is the part of the philosophy of time that asks questions about the nature of temporal reality. One central such question is that of whether time passes or flows, or whether it has a dynamic aspect.
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  8. A Song Turned Sideways Would Sound as Sweet.Zachary Ferguson - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Markosian (2020) presents an argument against certain theories of time based on the aesthetic value of music. He argues that turning a piece of music sideways in time destroys its intrinsic value, which would not be possible if the Spacetime Thesis were true. In this paper I show that sideways music poses no problems for any theory of time by demonstrating that turning a piece of music sideways does not affect its intrinsic value. I do this by appealing to spatial (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Do the Folk Represent Time as Essentially Dynamical?Andrew James Latham, Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    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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  11. The B-Theory in the 20th Century.M. Joshua Mozersky - forthcoming - In Adrian Bardon & Heather Dyke (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Wiley-Blackwell.
  12. The Situationalist Account of Change.Martin Pickup - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    In this paper I propose a new solution to the problem of change: situationalism. According to this view, parts of reality fundamentally disagree about what is the case and reality as a whole is unsettled (i.e. metaphysically indeterminate). When something changes, parts of the world irreconcilably disagree about what properties it has. From this irreconcilable disagreement, indeterminacy arises. I develop this picture using situations, which are parts of possible worlds; this gives it the name situationalism. It allows a B-theory endurance (...)
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  13. Philosophy of Time A Contemporary Introduction.Sean Enda Power - forthcoming - Routledge.
    As a growing area of research, the philosophy of time is increasingly relevant to different areas of philosophy and even other disciplines. This book describes and evaluates the most important debates in philosophy of time, under several subject areas: metaphysics, epistemology, physics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, rationality, and art. -/- Questions this book investigates include: Can we know what time really is? Is time possible, especially given modern physics? Must there be time because we cannot think (...)
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  14. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  15. C‐Theories of Time: On the Adirectionality of Time.Matt Farr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass (12):1-17.
    “The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...)
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  16. McTaggart on the Unreality of Time: Boghossian's Argument against Error-Theory.Ali Hossein Khani & Saeedeh Shahmir - 2020 - Zehn 81:91-115.
    McTaggart, in his famous paper, “The Unreality of Time” (1908), argues in favor of the sceptical claim that time is unreal. His main argument is based on detecting a paradox in our ordinary descriptions of time or events occurring in time. Based on our common sense conception of time, time and the events happening in it can be described in two ways: either as having the properties of “being past”, “being present” and “being future”, or as having the properties of (...)
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  17. From Spacetime to Space and Time: A Reply to Markosian.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):456-462.
    In a recent article, Ned Markosian gives an argument against four-dimensionalism understood as the view that time is one of four identical dimensions that constitute a single four-dimensional manifold. In this paper, I show that Markosian attacks a straw man as his argument targets a theory known to be false on empirical grounds. Four-dimensionalism rightly conceived in no way entails that time is identical to space. I then address two objections raised by Markosian against four-dimensionalism rightly conceived.
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  18. Quantum Mechanics, Time, and Theology: Indefinite Causal Order and a New Approach to Salvation.Emily Qureshi‐Hurst & Anna Pearson - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):663-684.
    Quantum mechanics has recently indicated that, at the fundamental level, temporal order is not fixed. This phenomenon, termed Indefinite Causal Order, is yet to receive metaphysical or theological engagement. We examine Indefinite Causal Order, particularly as it emerges in a 2018 photonic experiment. In this experiment, two operations A and B were shown to be in a superposition with regard to their causal order. Essentially, time, intuitively understood as fixed, flowing, and fundamental, becomes fuzzy. We argue that if Indefinite Causal (...)
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  19. Time Will Tell: An Interview with Kristie Miller.Christina Rawls & Kristie Miller - 2020 - Blog of the APA.
  20. The Block Universe: A Philosophical Investigation in Four Dimensions.Pieter Thyssen - 2020 - Dissertation, KU Leuven
    The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to closely explore the nature of Einstein’s block universe and to tease out its implications for the nature of time and human freedom. Four questions, in particular, are central to this dissertation, and set out the four dimensions of this philosophical investigation: (1) Does the block universe view of time follow inevitably from the theory of special relativity? (2) Is there room for the passage of time in the block universe? (3) Can we (...)
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  21. One Thing After Another: Why the Passage of Time Is Not an Illusion.Natalja Deng - 2019 - In Adrian Bardon, Valtteri Arstila, Sean Power & Argiro Vatakis (eds.), The Illusions of Time: Philosophical and Psychological Essays on Timing and Time Perception. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Does time seem to pass, even though it doesn’t, really? Many philosophers think the answer is ‘Yes’—at least when ‘time’s passing’ is understood in a particular way. They take time’s passing to be a process by which each time in turn acquires a special status, such as the status of being the only time that exists, or being the only time that is present. This chapter suggests that, on the contrary, all we perceive is temporal succession, one thing after another, (...)
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  22. Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2019 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):195-211.
    Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists, Oaklander and Tegtmeier ) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some of its mystery by offering a novel (...)
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  23. Qu'est-ce que le temps ?Baptiste Le Bihan - 2019 - Paris: Vrin.
    La philosophie contemporaine du temps voit s’affronter deux conceptions du temps : celle du devenir qui identifie la réalité naturelle à un présent en constant renouvellement et celle de l’univers-bloc qui assimile la réalité naturelle à un espace-temps étendu dans quatre dimensions. Cette dernière approche implique notamment que les événements qui nous semblent passés et futurs sont tout aussi réels que les événements présents et que les êtres humains, bien que mortels, sont des êtres éternels. L’auteur défend cette théorie de (...)
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  24. Sideways Music.Ned Markosian - 2019 - Analysis (1):anz039.
    There is a popular theory in the metaphysics of time according to which time is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. One consequence of this thesis is that changing an object’s orientation in the manifold does not change its intrinsic features. In this paper I offer a new argument against this popular theory. I claim that an especially good performance of a particularly beautiful piece of music, when oriented within the (...)
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  25. 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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  26. Time, Physics, and Philosophy: It’s All Relative.Sam Baron - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12466.
    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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  27. 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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  28. Time as Motion.Emiliano Boccardi - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):1-31.
    The arena of the philosophy of time has been largely concerned with deciding whether tense distinctions reflect absolute metaphysical distinctions or not. After bringing the debate over the metaphysical status of instantaneous velocity to bear on the debate over the nature of temporal passage, I argue that we should further investigate whether aspectual distinctions reflect objective and absolute metaphysical distinctions too. I conclude that those who think that being realist about tense uniquely makes room for the idea that time passes (...)
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  29. Turning the Tables on McTaggart.Emiliano Boccardi - 2018 - Philosophy (3):1-16.
    According to A-theories of time, the metaphysical ground of change and dynamicity is provided by a continuous shifting in which events are past, present and future (A-determinations). It is often claimed that these theories make better sense of our experience of dynamicity than their rival, the B-theories; according to the latter, dynamicity is grounded solely in the irreducible earlier-than relations (B-relations) which obtain between events or states of affairs. In this paper, I argue that the experience of time's dynamicity, on (...)
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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. On ‘Experiencing Time’: A Response to Simon Prosser.Natalja Deng - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (3):281-301.
    In his recent book ‘Experiencing time’, Simon Prosser discusses a wide variety of topics relating to temporal experience, in a way that is accessible both to those steeped in the philosophy of mind, and to those more familiar with the philosophy of time. He forcefully argues for the conclusion that the B-theorist of time can account for the temporal appearances. In this article, I offer a chapter by chapter response.
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  33. The Elements and Patterns of Being: Essays in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher (ed.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Donald C. Williams was a key figure in the development of analytic philosophy. This book will be the definitive source for his highly original work, which did much to bring metaphysics back into fashion. It presents six classic papers and six previously unpublished, revealing his full philosophical vision for the first time.
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  34. Experiencing Time. [REVIEW]Kourken Michaelian - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):642-644.
  35. Replies to Deng, Lee, and Skow.Simon Prosser - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (3):328-350.
    This paper is a contribution to a book symposium on my book Experiencing Time. I reply to comments on the book by Natalja Deng, Geoffrey Lee and Bradford Skow. Although several chapters of the book are discussed, the main focus of my reply is on Chapters 2 and 6. In Chapter 2 I argue that the putative mind-independent passage of time could not be experienced, and from this I develop an argument against the A-theory of time. In Chapter 6 I (...)
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  36. Determinismo, indeterminismo e il problema del futuro vero.Stefano Maria Schieppati - 2018 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 1:171-184.
    All’interno del dibattito che anima la filosofia temporale esistono numerose correnti di pensiero su quale posizione si debba adottare riguardo al problema del valore di verità delle proposizioni sul futuro. Nella prima parte dell’articolo verrà tracciato il quadro generale della discussione mediante una ricostruzione storica delle varie argomentazioni – da Aristotele e Diodoro Crono a Prior – e verranno analizzate le posizioni che si sono sviluppate, a partire da queste, nell’età contemporanea. Nella seconda parte invece tenterò di mostrare come la (...)
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  37. 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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  38. Do We Really Experience Temporal Passage?: Simon Prosser: Experiencing Time. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, $74.00 HB. [REVIEW]Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2017 - Metascience 26 (2):263-266.
    A review of Simon Prosser's book Experiencing Time.
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  39. 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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  40. Thank Goodness That’s Newcomb: The Practical Relevance of the Temporal Value Asymmetry.Christian Tarsney - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):750-759.
    I describe a thought experiment in which an agent must choose between suffering a greater pain in the past or a lesser pain in the future. This case demonstrates that the ‘temporal value asymmetry’ – our disposition to attribute greater significance to future pleasures and pains than to past – can have consequences for the rationality of actions as well as attitudes. This fact, I argue, blocks attempts to vindicate the temporal value asymmetry as a useful heuristic tied to the (...)
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  41. The Mind-Dependence of the Relational Structure of Time (Or: What Henri Bergson Would Say to B-Theorists).Sonja Deppe - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):107-124.
    Tenseless theorists assert that the relational structure of earlier/later is the essential structure of time. Using B-notions, so they think, we speak about time ‘as it is’ in a metaphysical sense and hence from the outside of our subjective perspective on it. I suggest on the contrary that the relational structure of earlier/later is part of our own intellectual structuring within the access to temporal phenomena. Furthermore it is essentially characterized by the structure of juxtaposition which originates in spatial experience (...)
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  42. In Light of the Theory of Special Relativity is a Passage of Time and the Argument of the Presentist Untenable?Mekhi Dhesi - 2016 - Dissertation, University College London
    In light of the Special Theory of Relativity and the Minkowski creation of ‘spacetime’, the universe is taken to be a four-dimensional entity which postulates bodies as existing within a temporally extended reality. The Special Theory of Relativity’s implications liken the nature of the universe to a ‘block’ within which all events coexist equally in spacetime. Such a view strikes against the very essence of presentism, which holds that all that exists is the instantaneous state of objects in the present (...)
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  43. Carnap’s Logic of Science and Reference to the Present Moment.Florian Fischer - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):61-90.
    The important switch from the so-called old B-theory to the new tenseless theory of time (NTT), which had significant implications for the field of tense and indexicals, occurred after Carnap’s era. Against this new background, Carnap’s original inter-translatability thesis can no longer be upheld. The most natural way out would be to modify Carnap’s position according to the NTT; but this is not compatible with Carnap’s metaphysical neutrality thesis. Even worse, Carnap’s work on measurement theory can be used to develop (...)
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  44. Relativity and Three Four‐Dimensionalisms.Cody Gilmore, Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (2):102-120.
    Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...)
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  45. Mctaggart’s Paradox.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2016 - Routledge.
    McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time, first published in 1908, set the agenda for 20th-century philosophy of time. Yet there is very little agreement on what it actually says—nobody agrees with the conclusion, but still everybody finds something important in it. This book presents the first critical overview of the last century of debate on what is popularly called "McTaggart’s Paradox". Scholars have long assumed that McTaggart’s argument stands alone and does not rely on any contentious ontological principles. The (...)
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  46. Too Many Conceptions of Time? McTaggart's Views Revisited.Gregor Schiemann & Brigitte Falkenburg - 2016 - In Stamatios Gerogiorgaki (ed.), Time and Tense (Basic Philosophical Concepts).
    John Ellis McTaggart defended an idealistic view of time in the tradition of Hegel and Bradley. His famous paper makes two independent claims (McTaggart1908): First, time is a complex conception with two different logical roots. Second, time is unreal. To reject the second claim seems to commit to the first one, i.e., to a pluralistic account of time. We compare McTaggarts views to the most important concepts of time investigated in physics, neurobiology, and philosophical phenomenology. They indicate that a unique, (...)
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  47. Debates in the Metaphysics of Time Edited by L. Nathan Oaklander. [REVIEW]Stephan Torre - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):256-259.
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  48. Reply to Sullivan.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):759-765.
  49. If It Ain’T Moving It Shall Not Be Moved.Emiliano Boccardi - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):171-185.
    There are two no-change objections that can be raised against the B-theory of time. One stems from the observation that in a B-theoretic scenario changes of determinations can only be represented by propositions which have eternal truth values. The other derives from the principle that nothing can vary over a period of time if it doesn’t instantiate a state of change at all the instants of time which compose it. Here I argue that both objections apply to all comparative conceptions (...)
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  50. On Whether B-Theoretic Atheists Should Fear Death.Natalja Deng - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1011-1021.
    In this paper I revisit a dispute between Mikel Burley and Robin Le Poidevin about whether or not the B-theory of time can give its adherents any reason to be less afraid of death. In ‘Should a B-theoretic atheist fear death?’, Burley argues that even on Le Poidevin’s understanding of the B-theory, atheists shouldn’t be comforted. His reason is that the prevalent B-theoretic account of our attitudes towards the past and future precludes treating our fear of death as unwarranted. I (...)
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