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Polish Journal of Philosophy

Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2008

Mikel Burley
Pages 21-38

The B-Theory of Time and the Fear of Death

This paper discusses Robin Le Poidevin’s proposal that a commitment to the B-theory of time provides a reason to relinquish the fear of death. After outlining Le Poidevin’s views on time and death, I analyze the specific passages in which he makes his proposal, giving close attention to the claim that, for the B-theorist, one’s life is “eternally real.” I distinguish two possible interpretations of this claim, which I call alethic eternalism and ontic eternalism respectively, and argue, with reference to statements by other B-theroists, that alethic eternalism is the only viable option. I highlight two problems for Le Poidevin’s proposal: firstly, even if alethic eternalism does provide a reason not to fear death, this same reason is available to A-theorists; and secondly, alethic eternalism does not in fact provide such a reason. Having critically assessed possible responses to these problems, I conclude that Le Poidevin’s proposal is unfounded.

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