Edited by Stephan Torre (University of Aberdeen)
|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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