Telephone: 0191 334 6550
Email: philosophical.writings@dur.ac.uk

Spring 2005

No. 28, Spring 2005
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Papers
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ARISTOTELIAN TEMPORAL PASSAGE, E. J. Lowe – University of Durham.
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MCTAGGART’S PARADOX: THAT TO WHICH WE ARE COMPELLED TO RESPOND. THE QUESTION IS, ‘HOW?’ , Jonathan C. Tallant – University of Leeds.
McTaggart’s original arguments have been interpreted and reinterpreted in a series of highly complex and, oft times, original ways. In this introductory paper I will offer a brief exposition of the original argument that McTaggart first gave and note a number of different ways in which philosophers have seen fit to respond. In doing so I hope to offer little more than an introduction to the topic that will pave the way for the papers that follow. It should also be noted that many of the criticisms that I very tentatively suggest are not as developed as they should be were they to be taken to represent serious and insurmountable problems. All that I do here is to provide a very general overview of the philosophical terrain and point to some features that may turn out to be problematic if we attempt to navigate the terrain in any particular way.
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HAVING A GOOD TIME WITH KIERKEGAARD: MCTAGGART, KIERKEGAARD, AND THE ETHICAL STATUS OF TIME , Marcos Pound – Nottingham University.
McTaggart’s claim that time is unreal has caused a wave of consternation, but attention is rarely given to the initial context of that denial. This paper argues that McTaggart’s denial is motivated less by considerations of logic than by an ethical imperative, and in light of this, asks whether ethics is best served by denying time. I employ Kierkegaard’s distinction between pagan and Christian cognitions of time to suggest that McTaggart’s denial amounts to a neo-platonic/gnostic degradation of the temporal realm which risks undermining the hope it seeks to cultivate. In place I offer an existential viewpoint.
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ARISTOTELIAN TEMPORAL PASSAGE, Tony Roark – Boise State University.
The central challenge for the temporal realist is providing a coherent analysis of temporal passage, the apparent ‘flow’ of time from earlier to later. I show here how the account of time Aristotle presents in Physics IV could serve as a basis for just such an analysis, for his view is immune to the standard stock of objections levelled by twentieth century philosophers. And although his account is itself subject to a damning objection, I believe that the troublemaking element might be supplanted by alternative views suited to fulfil the requisite theoretical role. I conclude that, subject to such revision, an Aristotelian conception of time looks to be the leading candidate.
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TEMPORAL BECOMING: CAN WE DO WITHOUT IT?, Elisa Paganini – Università degli Studi di Milano.
I propose to consider the paradox of temporal becoming using conceptual instruments derived from Lewis’ definition of intrinsic change. I will show that there are two possible solutions to this paradox, that the two solutions are conceptually incompatible and that they both solve the paradox at the cost of doing without temporal becoming. The problem I want to raise is: how should we consider temporal becoming? I suppose that, given these premises, the most obvious answer is that temporal becoming is unreal: the paradox of temporal becoming is a demonstration of the impossibility of temporal becoming; there are, of course, two different and competing models of the nature of time (i.e. the two solutions to the paradox), but they both exclude the reality of temporal change. I propose a different answer: temporal becoming is conceptually inaccessible, the paradox concerns our conceptual abilities, not reality in itself and the two possible solutions to the paradox of time reveal two possible conceptual attitudes towards a conceptually unattainable reality.
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