The metaphysics of time investigations in tense-logic and a B-series semantics

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The view that time flows from the future to the present and then recedes into the past is both natural and deeply problematic. So called 'A-theories' about time claim that this is the fundamental nature of temporality. This is not the view which will be defended in this paper. Rather I shall argue for what is known as a 'B-theory' analysis of time and language, one in which the relations of 'earlier than' and 'later than' are necessary and sufficient for any analysis of time. The structure of this paper is tripartite. The first part will address the philosophical and metaphysical tenets of both the A and B-theories of time. In this section, McTaggart's 1908 argument for the unreality of time will be presented along with some objections to it. I will show that some seemingly convincing arguments against 'McTaggart's paradox' are unsuccessful and his paradox does indeed call the A-series into question. This section will lay the groundwork for further discussions relating to other disciplines which are concerned with this debate by describing the issues and points of tension.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 81-83).