Three Flawed Distinctions in the Philosophy of Time

Erwin Tegtmeier


The distinctions between A-series and B-series, between synchronic and diachronic
identity and between perdurance and endurance are basic in the philosophy of time;
yet they are flawed.

McTaggart's claim that the A-series is static and that a series has to be changing to
be really temporal arises from a misunderstanding of temporal relations and of the
task of ontological analysis.

"Synchronic identity" is synonymous with "strict identity", which has nothing to do
with simultaneity. "Diachronic Identity" is another designation for persistence of an
ordinary thing through time and change. Now, strict self-identity holds independently
of whether a thing has a short or a long duration. Hence, diachronic identity is
synchronic identity.

Lewis distinguishes two kinds of ontological analyses of persistence -the perdurance
and the endurance analysis. This dichotomy is neither exhaustive, nor mutually
exclusive. Moreover, his definitions of "persist", "perdure" and "endure" are
patently inadequate.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; metaphysics; ontology; intentionality; representationalism; diachronic and synchronic identity; A-series; endurance; perdurance; B-series

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