Volume 48, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2019
Eric v. d. Luft
Three Paradigm Theories of Time
Bergson, McTaggart, and Whitehead
The three theories considered here, real continuous time (Bergson), real serial time (Whitehead), and unreal time (McTaggart), are each in some sense a reaction to Hume’s theory of serial or “spatialized” time. Hence, Hume’s theory is elaborated on as a foundation for the discussion and comparison of the subsequent three. This brief excursion into the nature of time may help to illuminate the differences among these three and to suggest some of their possible implications, particularly with regard to (1) the existential difference between intuited or transcendent time and experienced or immanent time and (2) the qualitative or ontological difference between the eternal and the temporal.