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Time to stop trying to provide an account of Time

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2003


Dummett argues that there are difficulties with existing accounts of time, and urges us to consider the merits of his alternative ‘constructionist’ account. He derides my opting out of the debate between him and his Realist opponents as “quietist”.

But the epithet “quietist” only works if there actually is some genuine topic on which I am staying quiet (or silencing others). Whereas I simply urge that, while Dummett has correctly identified difficulties with Realist accounts of time, he does not have any valid reason for opposing those accounts—and such valid reason can only come from a radically different approach which questions whether those accounts or any alternatives to them can satisfy those who wish to put them forward.

I argue that at best such accounts present fragments of ‘the grammar’ of time, in a rather misleading form.

Brief Report
© The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2003

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