11. The B-Theory in the Twentieth Century

  1. Heather Dyke and
  2. Adrian Bardon
  1. Joshua Mozersky

Published Online: 29 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118522097.ch11

A Companion to the Philosophy of Time

A Companion to the Philosophy of Time

How to Cite

Mozersky, J. (2013) The B-Theory in the Twentieth Century, in A Companion to the Philosophy of Time (eds H. Dyke and A. Bardon), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118522097.ch11

Editor Information

  1. University of Otago in New Zealand

Author Information

  1. Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658819

Online ISBN: 9781118522097



  • B-theory of time;
  • change;
  • eternalism;
  • language;
  • passage of time;
  • temporal predicates;
  • twentieth-century arguments


McTaggart's argument that time is unreal was agreed by few philosophers, but it opened up a great split among twentieth-century philosophers of time over the question of whether time must form an A-series (“A-theory”) or whether a B-series suffices for the reality of time (“B-theory”). This chapter discusses the most prominent twentieth-century arguments in favor of the negative responses to questions that were seen to be especially important in deciding this matter. It begins with the puzzle of change because if one accepts that temporal predicates indeed any predicates that can report change are in fact relations, then the appeal of the four pillars of the B-theory becomes apparent. The pillars of B-theory are (i) any conception of temporal passage as the gain and loss of non-relational, tensed properties is incoherent; (ii) the underlying, logical structure of tensed language is tenseless; (iii) eternalism; and (iv) temporal experience is explainable B-theoretically.