Philosophy



McTaggart's Argument


Denis Corish a1
a1 Bowdoin College

Abstract

The argument of J. M. E. McTaggart in ‘The Unreality of Time’ (Mind 1908) fails logically. There is no A series as such, but there is a shifting past-present-future arrangement within and consistent with the earlier-later B series, past being always earlier, future always later, present always a position earlier or later. An exactly similar logical structure is constructible within the number series, by making each number as one goes up it in turn (it does not matter what ‘it’, or ‘present’, means, ontologically). The subsequent argument that past-present-future time falls into contradiction then fails also, and proves to be equivocal.