Three Flawed Distinctions in the Philosophy of Time
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The distinctions between A-series and B-series, between synchronic and diachronic identity and between perdurance and endurance are basic in the philosophy of time; yet they are flawed. McTaggart’s claim that the B-series is static and that a series has to be changing to be really temporal arises from a misunderstanding of temporal relations and of the task of ontological analysis. The dynamic appearance of the A-series results from the incompleteness of the analysis. “Synchronic identity” is synonymous with “strict identity”, which has nothing to do with simultaneity. “Diachronic Identity” is another designation for persistence of an ordinary thing through time and change. Now, strict self-identity holds independently of whether a thing has a short or a long duration. Hence, diachronic identity is synchronic identity. Lewis’ distinguishes two kinds of ontological analyses of persistence, the perdurance and the endurance analysis. This dichotomy is in several respects not exhaustive. Above all, his definition of “persist” is inadequate being based on the notion of multiple temporal localisation which is apt with interrupted but misplaced with persistent, i.e., temporally continuous objects.