# Solve That Paradox: The Unreality of Time

By Realizingresonance @RealizResonance

This is the first edition of Realizing Resonance’s Solve That Paradox. This is where we attempt to explain a paradox in philosophy and ask you the readers to solve it for us. In January the theme is Time, and given this I will dive into McTaggart’s Paradox.

In 1908 the British Philosopher John M. E. McTaggart challenged the normal understanding of time with his essay “The Unreality of Time”. According to McTaggart there are two ways to think of events as ordered within time. We can either think of them as falling into the relations of past, present, and future, or we can think of them as relations of earlier-than or later-than. He called the past, present, and future relations the A-Series, and the earlier/later-than relations the B-Series. He further argued that the B-Series is dependent on the A-Series for us to make sense of change over time. This is because earlier-than and later-than relations are fixed and do not change, so the notions of past, present, and future must be included for time to be related to change, which it must for our normal understanding of it.

McTaggart then demonstrates that the A-Series is incoherent and leads to a paradox:

“Thus our first statement about [event] M - that it is present, will be past, and has been future - means that M is present at a moment of present time, past at some moment of future time, and future at some moment of past time. But every moment, like every event, is both past, present, and future…If M is present, there is no moment of past time at which it is past. But the moments of future time, in which it is past, are equally moments of past time, in which it cannot be past. Again, that M is future and will be present and past means that M is future at a moment of present time, and present and past at different moments of future time. In that case it cannot be present or past at any moments of past time. But all moments of future time, in which M will be present or past, are equally moments of past time…and thus we get a contradiction…whenever we percieve anything in time…we are experiencing it more or less as it really is not.” (McTaggart 33-34)

I know this is tricky to conceptualize, so I have laid out the problem in a table below:

McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time has led to a debate between A-Theorists, or Tensers, and B-Theorists, or De-Tensers, ever since. How would you solve McTaggart’s Paradox?

Jared Roy Endicott

### Works Cited:

McTaggart, John M.E.. “The Unreality of Time.” The Philosophy of Time. Eds. Robin Le Poidevin and Murray MacBeath. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993 (original 1908). 23-34. Print.

You Might Also Like :

• ## Hop Scotch

Now there’s a touch of spring in the air, it’s time to resume with my travels, starting with a trip into the Kingdom of Fife for three of the matches in the... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Smidrophenia
SOCCER, SPORTS
• ## Bubble Guppies Live Review

One night about a month and a half ago I was doing some work for my theater company, posting information about our upcoming production to various listings... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Nesheaholic
HAIR & BEAUTY
• ## Is There a Sting in the Tail?

I often say that whilst I love snowdrops I am not a galanthophile and nor will I ever be one.  Overwhelmingly the snowdrops in my garden are the common nivalis... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Ozhene
GARDENING, HOME
• ## Astaberry Skin Whitening Face Wash Review

We all know Astaberry Biosciences as they are the leading manufacturer of Ayurvedic cosmetics. Recently they have introduced a new product known as “Skin... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Jayshreebhagat
HAIR & BEAUTY
• ## Sixer’s Soapbox: Preston Comfortable as Sunderland Freezes

John McCormick writes: I won’t be going to the North-East before June, so I won’t be seeing any home games this season. Just as well, I suppose, as the text... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Colin Randall
SOCCER, SPORTS
• ## Schindler’s Lift

Following a boozy afternoon on the tiles, I had no memory of making it back to our hotel in East London. This is despite staggering from Soho to Piccadilly... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Jackscott
DIARIES, EXPAT, SELF EXPRESSION
• ## Electric Universe - Yamnaya People - proto-Saturnian-split Date?

THERE WERE GIANTS IN THOSE DAYS:yes, this looks like Free Planet taking the Bible as a Historical Document...The Electric Universe concept (ameliorated by... Read more

The 18 March 2018 by   Freeplanet
DEBATE, SOCIETY