Is 'What is time?' a good question to ask?

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Abstract

Dummett in his recent paper in Philosophy replies in the negative to the question, “Is time a continuum of instants?” But Dummett seems to think that this negative reply entails giving an alternative theoretical account; he nowhere canvasses the possibility that there is something amiss with the question. In other words, Dummett thinks that he still has to reply to the question, “What (then) is time?”

I offer no answer whatsover to such ‘questions’. Rather, I ask what it could possibly mean to say that time is (e.g.) a continuum of instants (and by extension, whether it can mean anything at all to assert that it isn't).

In the course of doing so, I suggest that Dummett's ‘Anti-Realism’ is invariably a form of Realism, just a subtly inconsistent form. Anti-Realism keeps the fundamental metaphysical picture of Realism intact. Anti-Realism still thinks that there is a Reality...settling whether Realism or Anti-Realism is correct! ‘Anti-Realism’ is never anti-Realist enough.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophy
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2002

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