The 'Timelessness' of Time
Oaklander (L. Nathan)
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Dec., 1977), pp. 228-233
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. There are two different ways in which we ordinarily think and talk about time. On the one hand we think of events in the world's history as being related, i.e., as being earlier than, later than, and simultaneous with each other. On the other hand we think of events as being in the far past, being in the near past, being present, being in the near future, being in the far future, and changing in respect to these A-determinations. To think of events in the second way is to conceive of them as becoming. Philosophers have wondered which, if either, of these two ways of conceiving time is more fundamental. In his book, The Language of Time, Richard Gale attempts to defend McTaggart's positive thesis that there cannot be temporal relations without becoming by analyzing temporal, or B-relations, in terms of A-determinations. The aim of this paper is to show that Gale's purported reductive analysis of B-relations to A-determinations fails, because it cannot account for the "timelessness" of time.
  2. The paper will have two sections. In the first section I shall (a) state some necessary conditions for an adequate analysis of B-relations and (b) explain my meaning(s) of the important terms, "intrinsic direction," "timelessly true," and "timeless." In the second section I shall argue that Gale does not satisfy the necessary conditions for an adequate analysis of B-relations and therefore does not vindicate the intuitions of McTaggart and several A-Theorists that there cannot be temporal relations without becoming.

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