On Whether B-Theoretic Atheists Should Fear Death

Philosophia 43 (4):1011-1021 (2015)
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Abstract
In this paper I revisit a dispute between Mikel Burley and Robin Le Poidevin about whether or not the B-theory of time can give its adherents any reason to be less afraid of death. In ‘Should a B-theoretic atheist fear death?’, Burley argues that even on Le Poidevin’s understanding of the B-theory, atheists shouldn’t be comforted. His reason is that the prevalent B-theoretic account of our attitudes towards the past and future precludes treating our fear of death as unwarranted. I examine his argument and provide a tentative defense of Le Poidevin. I claim that while Burley rightly spots a tension with a non-revisionary approach to our ordinary emotional life, he doesn’t isolate the source of that tension. The real question is how to understand Le Poidevin’s idea that on the B-theory, we and our lives are ‘eternally real’. I then suggest that there is a view of time that does justice to Le Poidevin’s remarks, albeit a strange one. The view takes temporal relations to be quasi-spatial and temporal entities to exist in a totum simul
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First archival date: 2015-09-02
Latest version: 2 (2019-01-26)
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2015-08-13

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