The reality of now

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (1):69 – 82 (1999)
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Abstract

The apparent 'flow' of time is one of its most mysterious features, and one which discomforts both scientists and philosophers. One of the most striking assaults upon it is McTaggart's argument that the idea of temporal flow is demonstratively incoherent. In this paper I first urge that the idea of temporal flow is an important part of our intuitive understanding of time, underpinning several of our notions about rationality and time. Second, I try to undercut McTaggart's argument by showing that it is not temporal flow which is illusory but rather the vicious regress McTaggart saw in that idea. A steadfast clinging to the notion of now, along with an analysis of McTaggart's argument reveals that the regress halts after but two steps.

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William Seager
University of Toronto at Scarborough

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
The unreality of time.John Ellis McTaggart - 1908 - Mind 17 (68):457-474.
Past, present and future.Arthur N. Prior - 1967 - Oxford,: Clarendon P..

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