On Whether B-theoretic Atheists Should Fear Death
Deng (Natalja)
Source: Philosophia 43/4: 1011-1021, Dec. 2015
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In this paper I revisit a dispute between Mikel Burley and Robin LePoidevin about whether or not the B-theory of time can give its adherents any reason to be less afraid of death.
  2. 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.
  3. 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’.
  4. 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.

Comment:

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