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Summary In a much discussed paper, John McTaggart argues that time is unreal. He argues for this surprising conclusion by claiming that two candidate ways of construing time are inadequate. McTaggart notes that we can order times according to whether they are past, present or future and by how far into the past or future they are. He calls this ordering of times the 'A-series'. He also notes that we can order times according to whether they are earlier than or later than one another. He calls this ordering of times the 'B-series'. He goes on to argue that time cannot be construed in terms of the A-series nor in terms of the B-series. From this he concludes that time must be unreal. His reason for thinking that the A-series is inadequate is because he thinks such an ordering leads to contradiction. He claims that the properties of being past, being present and being future are incompatible, yet each time would have to possess all three, which he deemed impossible. McTaggart claims that the B-series is also inadequate because it cannot account for change. If one time is earlier than another, then this fact holds eternally. However this eternal fact cannot accommodate the fact that what times are past, present and future changes from one moment to the next. McTaggart's argument for the unreality of time is, no doubt, highly controversial and has spurred a great deal of discussion in both trying to clarify it, as well as evaluate it.
Key works McTaggart's influential argument is presented in his McTaggart 1908. An important discussion of it can be found in chapter 7 of Mellor 1998. Several key works relating to McTaggart's argument can be found in Part 2 of Oaklander & Smith 1994.
Introductions Good overviews of McTaggart's argument are found in section 4 of Markosian 2010 and section 3 of McDaniel 2010.
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  1. added 2019-01-09
    Flow Fragmentalism.Giuliano Torrengo & Samuele Iaquinto - forthcoming - Theoria.
    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 (...)
  2. added 2018-07-26
    Fine's Trilemma and the Reality of Tensed Facts.Roberto Loss - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):209-217.
    Fine (2005, 2006) has presented a ‘trilemma’ concerning the tense-realist idea that reality is constituted by tensed facts. According to Fine, there are only three ways out of the trilemma, consisting in what he takes to be the three main families of tense-realism: ‘presentism’, ‘(external) relativism’, and ‘fragmentalism’. Importantly, although Fine characterises tense-realism as the thesis that reality is constituted (at least in part) by tensed facts, he explicitly claims that tense realists are not committed to their fundamental existence. Recently, (...)
  3. added 2018-07-12
    Thisness Presentism: An Essay on Time, Truth, and Ontology.David Ingram - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Routledge.
    Thisness Presentism outlines and defends a novel version of presentism, the view that only present entities exist and what is present really changes. Presentism is a view of time that captures a real and objective difference between what is past, present, and future, and which offers a model of reality that is dynamic and mutable, rather than static and immutable. The book advances a new defence of presentism by developing a novel ontology of thisness, combining insights about the nature of (...)
  4. added 2018-06-04
    Gibt es eine objektive Gegenwart?: Zur Metaphysik der Zeit.Dietmar Hübner - 2009 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 116 (2):269-293.
    Since J. McTaggart’s paper on “The Unreality of Time” the opposition of “A-theorists” and “B-theorists” establishes a focal point in the modern debate on the metaphysics of time: While “A-theorists” claim the existence of an objective present, moving along time positions, “B-theorists” maintain that time is just a set of ontologically equivalent coordinates, “now” being merely the indexical of the speaker’s position. Contemporary attempts to resolve the issue by resorting to the analysis of language or to the theory of science (...)
  5. added 2018-05-23
    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 (...)
  6. added 2018-02-21
    Time and Tense. Unifying the Old and the New.Stamatios Gerogiorgakis - 2016 - Munich: Philosophia.
    Contents: -/- Bas C. van Fraassen, Introduction -/- Miloš Arsenijević, Avoiding Logical Determinism and Retaining the Principle of Bivalence within Temporal Modal Logic: Time as a Line-in-Drawing -/- Allan Bäck, The Reality of the Statement and the Now in Aristotle -/- Hans Burkhardt, Aristotle on Memory and Remembering and McTaggart’s A-Time and B-Time Series -/- Stamatios Gerogiorgakis, Late Ancient Paradoxes concerning Tense Revisited -/- Sonja Schierbaum, Ockham on Tense and Truth -/- Hylarie Kochiras, Newton’s Absolute Time -/- Christina Schneider, Monads, (...)
  7. added 2018-02-07
    Hegel, Spinoza, and McTaggart on the Reality of Time.Yitzhak Melamed - forthcoming - Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus / International Yearbook of German Idealism.
    In this paper, I study one aspect of the philosophical encounter between Spinoza and Hegel: the question of the reality of time. The precise reconstruction of the debate will require a close examination of Spinoza's concept of tempus (time) and duratio (duration), and Hegel's understanding of these notions. Following a presentation of Hegel's perception of Spinoza as a modern Eleatic, who denies the reality of time, change and plurality, I turn, in the second part, to look closely at Spinoza's text (...)
  8. added 2017-07-23
    Time, Persistence, and Causality: Towards a Dynamic View of Temporal Reality.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2002 - Dissertation, Umeå University
    The thesis revolves around the following questions. What is time? Is time tensed or tenseless? Do things endure or perdure, i.e. do things persist by being wholly present at many times, or do they persist by having temporal parts? Do causes bring their effects into existence, or are they only correlated with each other? Within a realist approach to metaphysics, the author claims that the tensed view of time, the endurance view of persistence, and the production view of causality naturally (...)
  9. added 2017-05-20
    The Experience of Temporal Passage.Akiko Frischhut - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Geneva and University of Glasgow
  10. added 2017-05-16
    The Passage of Time and its Enemies: An Introduction to Time and Reality II.Emiliano Boccardi - 2017 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 40 (1):5-41.
    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 primitive (...)
  11. added 2017-05-05
    Fine’s McTaggart: Reloaded.Roberto Loss - 2017 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 40 (1):209-239.
    In this paper I will present three arguments (based on the notions of constitution, metaphysical reality, and truth, respectively) with the aim of shedding some new light on the structure of Fine’s (2005, 2006) ‘McTaggartian’ arguments against the reality of tense. Along the way, I will also (i) draw a novel map of the main realist positions about tense, (ii) unearth a previously unnoticed but potentially interesting form of external relativism (which I will label ‘hyper-presentism’) and (iii) sketch a novel (...)
  12. added 2017-03-31
    Dissolving McTaggart's Paradox.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2013 - In Christer Svennerlind, Jan Almäng & Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Johanssonian Investigations. Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. pp. 240-258.
  13. added 2017-01-29
    McTaggart's Theory of Immortality.Hilda D. Oakeley - 1946 - Hibbert Journal 45:350.
  14. added 2017-01-28
    Mctaggart.S. V. Keeling - 1933 - Mind 42:544.
  15. added 2017-01-27
    Having a Good Time with Kierkegaard: Mctaggart, Kierkegaard, and the Ethical Status of Time.Marcos Pound - 2005 - Philosophical Writings 28 (1).
    McTaggart’s claim that time is unreal has caused a wave of consternation, but attention is rarely given to the initial context of that denial. This paper argues that McTaggart’s denial is motivated less by considerations of logic than by an ethical imperative, and in light of this, asks whether ethics is best served by denying time. I employ Kierkegaard’s distinction between pagan and Christian cognitions of time to suggest that McTaggart’s denial amounts to a neo-platonic/gnostic degradation of the temporal realm (...)
  16. added 2017-01-17
    Time and Temporality: A Heiddegerian Perspective on McTaggart's A-Series.Zachary Dotray - unknown
    J.M.E. McTaggart first employed the now-standard distinction between the A- an B-series in an attempt to prove the unreality of time. I argue that McTaggart's analysis of time requires that a subject exist within the A-series, and as such lends itself to a Heideggerian conception of time, viewed both through Being and Time and Heidegger's interpretation of Aristotle's theory, that necessitates a 'personal' temporality in order to make 'world-time' intelligible. I also suggest that Heidegger's temporaility, formulated as a non-successive unity (...)
  17. added 2017-01-17
    A Defence of McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time.Michael Dummett - 1978 - In Truth and Other Enigmas. Duckworth. pp. 351-357.
  18. added 2017-01-16
    VI.—The Philosophy of Time and the Timeless in McTaggart's Nature of Existence.H. D. Oakeley - 1947 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 47 (1):105-128.
  19. added 2017-01-16
    Examination of McTaggart's Philosophy.A. E. M. & C. D. Broad - 1938 - Journal of Philosophy 35 (18):491.
  20. added 2017-01-16
    The Manichen Unreality.John Durkan - 1934 - New Blackfriars 15 (176):760-762.
  21. added 2017-01-15
    On a ‘Very Obscure Argument’ in McTaggart.Denis Corish - 1978 - Philosophical Studies 26:191-197.
  22. added 2017-01-14
    J. Mctaggart E. Mctaggart.G. Lowes Dickinson - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    Originally published in 1931, this book presents a concise biography of the British idealist metaphysician John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart. The text was largely written by the prominent political scientist Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, a close friend of the subject. Abundant material from McTaggart's memoirs, letters and other writings is included, with earlier chapters covering more personal areas and later ones focusing on his philosophical approach. Ilustrative figures and notes are also included. This book will be of value to anyone with an (...)
  23. added 2017-01-14
    McTaggart’s Paradox and its Consequences.Strahinja Djordjevic - 2015 - Filozofija I Društvo 26 (1):226-242.
  24. added 2017-01-14
    IS NOW A MOMENT IN TIME? A Discussion of McTaggart’s Argument Against the Reality of Time From a Transcendental Idealist Standpoint.Michel Bitbol - unknown
    A concept of the ‘actual now’ is introduced. The ‘actual now’ is negatively characterized by the fact that it is absent from the time-series. This does not mean that the ‘actual now’ is outside the time-series. For saying so would wrongly suggest the existence of an ‘outside’ where the ‘actual now’ could be located. Instead, one considers that the ‘actual now’ is just the name of ‘that with respect to which’ any event can be said to be past or future, (...)
  25. added 2017-01-09
    There's No Time Like the Present.Tim Button - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):130–135.
    No-futurists ('growing block theorists') hold that that the past and the present are real, but that the future is not. The present moment is therefore privileged: it is the last moment of time. Craig Bourne (2002) and David Braddon-Mitchell (2004) have argued that this position is unmotivated, since the privilege of presentness comes apart from the indexicality of 'this moment'. I respond that no-futurists should treat 'x is real-as-of y' as a nonsymmetric relation. Then different moments are real-as-of different times. (...)
  26. added 2016-12-08
    The Experience of Temporal Passage.Akiko M. Frischhut - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Geneva
    The project of my dissertation was to advance the metaphysical debate about temporal passage, by relating it to debates about the perceptual experience of time and change. It seems true that we experience temporal passage, even if there is disagreement whether time actually passes, or what temporal passage consists in. This appears to give the defender of dynamic time an advantage in accounting for our experience. I challenge this by arguing that no major account of temporal perception can accommodate experiences (...)
  27. added 2016-12-08
    The Metaphysics of Time: A Dialogue.Bradley Dowden - 2009 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    Seventh in the New Dialogues in Philosophy series, this book discusses the concept of time and shows in the simplest ways how time informs discussions about causality, creation, physics, natural disasters, and much more. Creating a series of conversations between two fictional characters, Bradley Dowden uses the characters to explore nine metaphysical issues involving time.
  28. added 2016-12-08
    Mctaggart on Time.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 2001 - Noûs 35 (s15):229-252.
  29. added 2016-12-08
    Statements, Sentences and States of Affairs in McTaggart and in General.Joy H. Roberts - 1980 - Erkenntnis 15 (1):73-89.
  30. added 2016-12-03
    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 (...)
  31. added 2016-11-05
    Presentismo, referência ao passado e proposições.César Schirmer dos Santos - 2011 - Investigação Filosófica 2 (2):1-8.
    Os presentistas nos dizem que os únicos objetos percorridos pelos quantificadoresde escopo mais amplo são aqueles que existem no presente, o que leva seus críticos aperguntarem o que torna verdadeiros os enunciados sobre o passado, como “Sócrates foi umfilósofo”. Em defesa do presentismo, e seguindo a proposta de Fiocco (2007), argumentamosque o que torna verdadeiro um enunciado sobre o passado é uma proposição, que proposiçõesnão existem no tempo, e que nada na teoria presentista compromete seus defensores com atese de que (...)
  32. added 2016-09-06
    Every Now and Then, No-Futurism Faces No Sceptical Problems.Tim Button - 2007 - Analysis 67 (4):325–332.
    Tallant (2007) has challenged my recent defence of no-futurism (Button 2006), but he does not discuss the key to that defence: that no-futurism's primitive relation 'x is real-as-of y' is not symmetric. I therefore answer Tallant's challenge in the same way as I originally defended no-futurism. I also clarify no-futurism by rejecting a common mis-characterisation of the growing-block theorist. By supplying a semantics for no-futurists, I demonstrate that no-futurism faces no sceptical challenges. I conclude by considering the problem of how (...)
  33. added 2016-08-31
    Objective Becoming.Bradford Skow - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
    What does the passage of time consist in? There are some suggestive metaphors. âEvents approach us, pass us, and recede from us, like sticks and leaves floating on the river of time.â âWe are moving from the past into the future, like ships sailing into an unknown ocean.â There is surely something right and deep about these metaphors. But how close are they to the literal truth? In this book Bradford Skow argues that they are far from the literal truth. (...)
  34. added 2016-08-29
    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 (...)
  35. added 2016-03-01
    The Moving Spotlight Lights, and Having Lit, Moves On.Kristie Miller - 2016 - Metascience:1-5.
    Ross Cameron’s the moving spotlight reminds me a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean. Although there are no pirates, it’s a rip roaring swashbuckling adventure. It’s a wild ride. Truth be told, many of us will probably conclude that it’s no more plausible an account of our world than is Pirates of the Caribbean a faithful depiction of piracy. I’m not a moving spotlight theorist. There aren’t many of them out there. I’m not even an A-theorist, though there are plenty (...)
  36. added 2016-02-26
    Temporal Parity and the Problem of Change.Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2001 - SATS 2 (2):60-79.
    I discuss the general form of arguments that profess to prove that the view that things endure in tensed time through causally produced change (the dynamic view) must be false because it involves contradictions. I argue that these arguments implicitly presuppose what has been called the temporal parity thesis, i.e. that all moments of time are equally existent and real, and that this thesis must be understood as the denial of the dynamic view. When this implicit premise is made explicit, (...)
  37. added 2016-02-26
    Hur ska man förstå McTaggarts paradox?Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson - 2000 - Filosofisk Tidskrift 21 (3):13–24.
    I sitt berömda bevis för tidens overklighet påstod McTaggart att det sätt händelser tycks skifta position i tiden från framtid till nutid och till förfluten tid, innebär en motsägelse. Vad McTaggart egentligen menade har varit föremål för en livlig debatt ända sedan beviset först publicerades 1908. Beviset består av två delar. I den första argumenterar McTaggart för att ingenting kan förändras förutom genom att övergå från framtid till förfluten tid. I den andra argumenterar han för att en sådan övergång innebär (...)
  38. added 2015-10-14
    The Moving Spotlight: An Essay on Time and Ontology.Ross P. Cameron - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    Ross P. Cameron argues that the flow of time is a genuine feature of reality. He suggests that the best version of the A-Theory is a version of the Moving Spotlight view, according to which past and future beings are real, but there is nonetheless an objectively privileged present. Cameron argues that the Moving Spotlight theory should be viewed as having more in common with Presentism than with the B-Theory. Furthermore, it provides the best account of truthmakers for claims about (...)
  39. added 2015-08-29
    Notes: Dr. Mctaggart and "Idealism".R. F. Alfred Hoernlé - 1926 - Mind 35 (137):129-130.
  40. added 2015-07-29
    A irrealidade do tempo.John McTaggart - 2014 - Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia 55 (130):747-764.
  41. added 2015-07-16
    Earlier and Later If and Only If Past, Present and Future.Denis Corish - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (1):41-58.
    To prove the equivalence one must start with one side, and the earlier-later side seems, for starting with, logically the clearer. The equivalence is provable on reasonable definitions of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ in terms of the earlier-later structure of time. McTaggart's attempted distinction between the past-present-future A series and the earlier-later B series, as though they were rivals for the structure of time, is based on an unexamined, and false, assumption. The equivalence shows they are not rivals; they are (...)
  42. added 2015-07-16
    Time and Change. Mc Taggart, Broad, Lowe, Smart, Prior: Problems, Difficulties, Hypotheses of Solutions.M. Gentile - 2010 - Metalogicon 1:9-39.
    This paper concerns the issue of time understood as the dimension of change. I want to discuss it in relation to the argument which had a considerable impact on modern philosophical and physical researches in the field: Mc Taggart‟s „argument of unreality of time‟. I will begin by briefly outlining such argument and then I will examine some of the major objections to it. I question if this kind of description does embody the reality of time. I will conclude by (...)
  43. added 2015-07-16
    Does Time Pass?Ned Markosian - 1990 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    My topic is the question 'Does time pass?'. Although much has been written in attempts to answer this question, not enough attention has been paid to the asking of the question itself. As a result, it has not been clear exactly what is at issue in this matter, and, consequently, it has not been clear just what are the different views available to one who wishes to give an answer to the question. I hope to ameliorate this situation. ;The aims (...)
  44. added 2015-04-27
    Oaklander on McTaggart and Intrinsic Change.William Lane Craig - 1999 - Analysis 59 (4):319-320.
  45. added 2015-04-05
    J. M. E. McTaggart, The Nature of Existence, Vol. I. [REVIEW]C. D. Broad - 1921 - Hibbert Journal 20:172.
  46. added 2015-04-04
    Being in Time: The Nature of Time in Light of McTaggart's Paradox.David J. Farmer - 1991 - Mind 100 (3):388-390.
  47. added 2015-04-04
    A Solution of Mctaggart's Paradox.David Zeilicovivi - 1986 - Ratio (Misc.) 28 (2):175.
  48. added 2015-04-04
    McTaggart's Paradox: Two Parodies: Kenneth Rankin.Kenneth Rankin - 1981 - Philosophy 56 (217):333-348.
    To be truly provocative and outrageous the superior philosophical sophistry will commonly possess four somewhat adventitious features. I shall rate it as classic if it has all four. First, and least adventitiously, the argument will be crisp and initially seductive. Second, by the standard the sophistry sets direct rebuttal will be laborious and diffuse. Third, the recipe for the latter will prescribe that we pick out some hitherto unarticulated logical principle such that if the principle be true then the sophistical (...)
  49. added 2015-04-04
    Reality and Unreality of Time.S. Bokil - 1976 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 3 (3):367-376.
  50. added 2015-04-04
    McTAGGART, J. McT. E. - The Nature of Existence. [REVIEW]C. D. Broad - 1921 - Mind 30:317.
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