Time, Space, Dummett and McTaggart

Brian Garrett 1
  • 1 School of Philosophy, Australian National University, ACT 0200, Australia
Brian Garrett


Michael Dummett’s fecund and uncharacteristically brief article “A Defence of McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time” offers a well-known interpretation of McTaggart’s proof, and makes a number of controversial claims about a range of inter-connected theses concerning time and space. I want to sort out what is plausible in what Dummett says from what is not, and identify which theses should be endorsed by A theorists and which by B theorists. It is important, even today, to get clear about these issues and their bearing on Dummett’s interpretation of McTaggart.

  • Dummett, M. 1960. “A Defence of McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time.” Philosophical Review 69 (4):497–504.

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  • Lowe, E. J. 1987. “The Indexical Fallacy in McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time.” Mind 96:62–70.

  • MacBeath, M. 1988. “Dummett’s Second-Order Indexicals.” Mind 97:113–16.

  • McTaggart, J. E. 1908. “The Unreality of Time.” Mind 17 (4):457–74.

  • Thomson, J. J. 2001. “McTaggart on Time.” Noûs 35:299–252.

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