A-theory for b-theorists

Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):1-20 (2002)


The debate between A-theory and B-theory in the philosophy of time is a persistent one. It is not always clear, however, what the terms of this debate are. A-theorists are often lumped with a miscellaneous collection of heterodox doctrines: the view that only the present exists, that time flows relentlessly, or that presentness is a property (Williams 1996); that time passes, tense is unanalysable, or that earlier than and later than are defined in terms of pastness, presentness, and futurity (Bigelow 1991); or that events or facts (as opposed to language) are “tensed” (Mellor 1993). B-theorists then argue that the A-theory is incoherent, using variants on J.M.E. McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time (McTaggart 1927, ch. 33).

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Author's Profile

Josh Parsons
PhD: Australian National University; Last affiliation: University of Otago

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Truth and Other Enigmas.Michael Dummett - 1978 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Time, Tense, and Causation.Michael Tooley - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
Time and Physical Geometry.Hilary Putnam - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):240-247.

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Citations of this work

The Moving Spotlight Theory.Daniel Deasy - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2073-2089.
The Cresting Wave: A New Moving Spotlight Theory.Kristie Miller - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1):94-122.
Time's Ontic Voltage.Craig Callender - 2011 - In Adrian Bardon (ed.), The future of the philosophy of time. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 73-94.
Symmetric and Asymmetric Theories of Time.Vincent Grandjean - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14403-14426.
Beyond a-and B-Time.Clifford Williams - 2003 - Philosophia 31 (1-2):75-91.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

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