Three Flawed Distinctions in the Philosophy of Time

Metaphysica 8 (1):53-59 (2007)


The distinctions between A-series and B-series, between synchronic and diachronic identity and between perdurance and endurance are basic in the philosophy of time; yet they are flawed. McTaggart’s claim that the B-series is static and that a series has to be changing to be really temporal arises from a misunderstanding of temporal relations and of the task of ontological analysis. The dynamic appearance of the A-series results from the incompleteness of the analysis. “Synchronic identity” is synonymous with “strict identity”, which has nothing to do with simultaneity. “Diachronic Identity” is another designation for persistence of an ordinary thing through time and change. Now, strict self-identity holds independently of whether a thing has a short or a long duration. Hence, diachronic identity is synchronic identity. Lewis’ distinguishes two kinds of ontological analyses of persistence, the perdurance and the endurance analysis. This dichotomy is in several respects not exhaustive. Above all, his definition of “persist” is inadequate being based on the notion of multiple temporal localisation which is apt with interrupted but misplaced with persistent, i.e., temporally continuous objects

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

40 (#287,937)

6 months
1 (#386,499)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

Identity Over Time.Andre Gallois - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Intrinsic/Extrinsic.I. L. Humberstone - 1996 - Synthese 108 (2):205-267.
Time in Experience: Reply to Gallagher.Barry F. Dainton - 2003 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 9.
The Time Machine in Our Mind.Kurt Stocker - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (3):385-420.
What Makes Time Special?Craig Callender - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Ontology of Time and Hyperdynamism.Erwin Tegtmeier - 2009 - Metaphysica 10 (2):185-198.
Getting the Vehicle Moving.George N. Reeke - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):165-166.
What "Becomes" in Temporal Becoming?James Harrington - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):249-265.
An Argument Against General Validity?Rohan French - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):4-9.
Understanding the Time‐Asymmetry of Radiation.Jill North - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1086-1097.
Time and Modality.Ulrich Meyer - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press. pp. 91--121.
Time in Cognitive Development.Christoph Hoerl & Teresa McCormack - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 439-459.