McTaggart’s Paradox (2012–14)

—Funded by the Swedish Research Council

The aim of this project is to write the definitive guide to the philosophical debate about McTaggart’s famous argument for the unreality of time. There exists no such overview, despite the central role that the argument has in the philosophy of time, and despite the fact that there exist no consensus on the either the exact content of the argument or the validity of any of the proposed interpretations. Consequently, such a project is timely and would be received internationally as a significant contribution to the philosophy of time and become a definite reference point for future research on the topic.

I will search out every discussion of the argument, attempt to classify the various responses and critically evaluate them. The aim is to publish the findings in a book.

A major difference between my approach to the argument, as opposed to earlier commentators, is that I interpret the argument in light of McTaggart’s metaphysical system, while it is universally assumed by everyone else that the argument for the unreality of time is independent and self–contained. There is clear textual evidence that McTaggart intended the argument to be an axiomatic demonstration from previously given principles, but this has been entirely overlooked (see Ingthorsson 1998). The project is thus not intended to be mere historical overview, but a significant contribution in its own right to the philosophy of time.


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