Origins of the A-B Theory Debate and G. E. Moore”
Emily Thomas (Durham University, Australian Catholic University)

July 13, 2023, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Department of Philosophy, University of Adelaide

Napier Building, Lecture Theatre G04
North Terrace
Adelaide 5005


University of Adelaide

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The 13th Gavin David Young Lecture in Philosophy will be presented by Associate Professor Emily Thomas from Durham University.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 13th July 2023 on the North Terrace Campus in the Napier Building, lecture theatre G046:00pm–7:30pm. It is open to the public, and there will be time for Q&A from the audience.

Abstract: J. M. E. McTaggart’s 1908 ‘The Unreality of Time’ is rightly recognised as sparking the debate between philosophers who hold the ‘real nature’ of time to be an A-series, and those who take it to be a B-series. Bertrand Russell has been described as the ‘father’ of B-theory, but the parentage of A-theory is murky. This paper argues we should look to fellow ‘new realist’ G. E. Moore, who espoused anti-realism about time until late 1898 and then became a ‘common-sense’ A-theorist and presentist. I put Moore’s shifting views in context, explore his positions, and argue he owes a great debt to ‘old realist’ Henry Sidgwick. 

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