A new problem for the A-theory of time

Philosophical Quarterly 50 (201):494-498 (2000)
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: I offer a new approach to the increasingly convoluted debate between the A- and B-theories of time, the ‘tensed’ and ‘tenseless’ theories. It is often assumed that the B-theory faces more difficulties than the A-theory in explaining the apparently tensed features of temporal experience. I argue that the A-theory cannot explain these features at all, because on any physicalist or supervenience theory of the mind, in which the nature of experience is fixed by the physical state of the world, the tensed properties of time posited by the A-theory could play no role in shaping temporal experience. It follows that the A-theory is false; even a priori arguments for it fail, because they still require the tensed vocabulary which is used to describe temporal experience.

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Simon Prosser
University of St. Andrews


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