Philosophical Studies 176 (3):635-654 (2019)

In his seminal work, McTaggart :457–484, 1908; The nature of existence, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1927) dismissed the possibility of understanding the B-Relations as irreducibly temporal relations, and with it dismissing the B-Theory of time, which assumes the reality of irreducible B-relations. Instead, he thought they were mere constructions from irreducible A-determinations and timeless ordering relations. However, since, philosophers have almost universally dismissed his dismissal of irreducible B-relations. This paper argues that McTaggart was correct to dismiss the possibility of B-relations, and that would be B-theorists should be C-theorists and its concomitant commitment to the unreality of time. I do this by first elaborating C-Theory, noting that B-relations appear indiscernible from C-relations on close examination. This establishes an onus on B-theorists to distinguish B-relations from C-relations by elaborating the distinctively temporal character of the former. I then present a problem for the possibility of accommodating temporal character in B-relations. Following this, I question from whence derives our sense of the temporal character that purportedly resides in the irreducible B-relations. Finally, I extend the challenge against irreducible B-relations to a series of irreducible abstract temporal relations—so called Ersatz-B-Relations—modelled on them.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1031-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,607
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
90 ( #132,623 of 2,533,629 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #199,500 of 2,533,629 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes