Time and McTaggart's paradox

Author:
Farmer, David John, Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Advisors:
Cargile, James, Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Heath, Peter, Corcoran Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Porter, Theodore M., Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Abstract:

I show that McTaggart's Paradox does not demonstrate that tensed time, when tensed time and the paradox are understood as they should be, is incoherent. However, important intuitions appear to underlie McTaggart's Paradox.

I explain what I mean by tensed time. It means that not all moments of time are equally real. Tensed time is a matter of ontology; it is not primarily a matter of grammar. The views is indicated, and variety in the view tensed and another. It the tenseless ways are tensed and tenseless is rejected that the compatible with one is robust enough to is argued that 'real' support indicated the description of tensed time, and it is how the ontological views of tensed and tenseless time differ in terms of becoming, the present and the spacetime continuum.

I argue that McTaggart's Paradox, as McTaggart actually presented it, does not present as clear a case for a contradiction in time as McTaggart intended. In one sense, McTaggart's actual argument does establish a contradiction; in another sense, it does not. I indicate that McTaggart's account is unclear unless a statement of the perceived contradiction includes specification of the implicit assumptions. I analyze McTaggart's account. For example, I argue that the infinite regress part of McTaggart's argument is not persuasive.

I offer two reconstructions of McTaggart's argument, presenting real contradictions. I suggest that some alternative ways of reconstructing a real contradiction appear flawed. For example, it is unsatisfactory to specify the contradiction in terms of a totality of facts about temporal properties. I argue that it is also unsatisfactory to focus on the claim that events are instantaneous.

I argue that Broad offers a successful A-theory response to the contradiction in the form that McTaggart presented it and to my first reformulation. I offer a supplementary argument. I explain that recognizing a distinction between matters of predication and of ontology provides an effective response to the contradiction as McTaggart presented it and to both of my reformulations.

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Degree:
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Keywords:
McTaggart, John McTaggart Ellis, 1866-1925, Time
Language:
English
Rights:
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date:
1989