McTaggart’s Paradox (2016) Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy.

R. D. Ingthorsson

9781138677241McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time, first published in 1908, set the agenda for 20th-century philosophy of time. Yet there is very little agreement on what it actually says—nobody agrees with the conclusion, but still everybody finds something important in it. This book presents the first critical overview of the last century of debate on what is popularly called “McTaggart’s Paradox”. Scholars have long assumed that McTaggart’s argument stands alone and does not rely on any contentious ontological principles. The author demonstrates that these assumptions are incorrect—McTaggart himself explicitly claimed his argument to be dependent on the ontological principles that form the basis of his idealist metaphysics. The result is that scholars have proceeded to understand the argument on the basis of their own metaphysical assumptions, duly arriving at very different interpretations. This book offers an alternative reading of McTaggart’s argument, and at the same time explains why other commentators arrive at their mutually incompatible interpretations. It will be of interest to students and scholars with an interest in the philosophy of time and other areas of contemporary metaphysics.

Mental Causation and Ontology (2013) Oxford University Press.

S. C. Gibb, E. J. Lowe, and R. D. Ingthorsson (Editors)

An international team of contributors presents new work on the importance of ontology for a central debate in philosophy of mind. Mental causation has been a hotly disputed topic in recent years, with reductive and non-reductive physicalists vying with each other and with dualists over how to accommodate, or else to challenge, two widely accepted metaphysical principles—the principle of the causal closure of the physical domain and the principle of causal non-overdetermination—which together appear to support reductive physicalism, despite the latter’s lack of intuitive appeal. Current debate about these matters appears to have reached something of an impasse, prompting the question of why this should be so. One possibility is that, while this debate makes extensive use of ontological vocabulary—by talking, for instance, of substances, events, states, properties, powers, and relations—relatively little attempt has been made within the debate itself to achieve either clarity or agreement about what, precisely, such terms should be taken to mean. The debate has become somewhat detached from broader developments in metaphysics and ontology, which have lately been proceeding apace, providing us with an increasingly rich and refined set of ontological categories upon which to draw, as well as a much deeper understanding of how they are related to one another. In this volume, leading metaphysicians and philosophers of mind reflect afresh upon the problem of mental causation in the light of some of these recent developments, with a view to making new headway with one of the most challenging and seemingly intractable issues in contemporary philosophy.


Johanssonian Investigations: Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday (2013) Eide: Ontos Verlag.

C. Svennerlind, J. Åman, and R. D. Ingthorsson (Editors)

During the last decades, Ingvar Johansson has made a formidable contribution to the development of philosophy in general and perhaps especially to the development of metaphysics. This volume consists of original papers written by 50 philosophers from all over the world in honour of Ingvar Johansson to celebrate his 70th birthday. The papers cover traditional issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, applied ethics and applied metaphysics, the nature of human rights, the philosophy of economics and sports. Some of the papers study the philosophy of Ingvar Johansson. All of them studies subjects which he has shown an interest in. The variety of subjects covered, testifies to the extraordinary wide range of issues his thought has had a bearing on.


Time, Persistence, and Causality: Towards a Dynamic View of Temporal Reality (2002) Umeå Studies in Philosophy 5.

R. D. Ingthorsson

This book revolves around the following questions. What is time? Is time tensed or tenseless? Do things endure or perdure, i.e. do things persist by being wholly present at many times, or do they persist by having temporal parts? Do causes bring their effects into existence, or are they only correlated with each other? Within a realist approach to metaphysics, the author claims that the tensed view of time, the endurance view of persistence, and the production view of causality naturally combine into what is called the dynamic view of temporal reality, and that the tenseless view of time, the perdurance view of persistence, and the correlation view of causality naturally combine into what is called the static view of temporal reality. The author argues in favour of a dynamic view. During the discussion a number of metaphysical problems are addressed. First, it is argued that the charges that the dynamic view is contradictory, made by J.M.E. McTaggart and David Lewis, are viciously circular. Secondly, it is argued that the static view cannot account for change, and deprives metaphysics of essential means to provide natural explanations to empirical phenomena. Thirdly, the author presents a novel account of the nature of necessary causal production. He suggests that the traditional conception of causes as essentially being external to the effects should be abandoned, and that causal production instead should be explicated in terms of reciprocal interactions between coexistent substances.