Temporal Phenomena, Ontology and the R-theory

L. Nathan Oaklander 1
  • 1 Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI 48502 USA
L. Nathan Oaklander


One of the more serious criticisms of the B-theory is that by denying the passage of time or maintaining that passage is a mind-dependent illusion or appearance, the B-theory gives rise to a static, block universe and thereby removes what is most distinctively timelike about time. The aim of this paper is to discuss the R-theory of time, after Russell, who Richard Gale calls “the father of the B-theory,” and explain how the R-theory can respond to the criticisms just raised, and others. In the course of my discussion I shall clarify differences between versions of the A-, B- and R-theories of time, and argue that McTaggart’s conception of the B-series and more specifically, the B-relations that generate it, has been instrumental in misconstruing the A-/B-theory debate resulting in criticisms of the B-theory that can be seen to be fallacious when applied to the R-theory.

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