The philosophy of time: B-Theory & Potentiality

It is claimed by some that the B-theory of time means that one can simply say that time is an illusion. But B-theory doesn’t actually imply this, or should i say that it cannot logically state this as fact. At most all one can say is that all time has a meta-existence; a theory that i myself hold. This is to say that the past, present, and future, all exist equally. However, i do not see this as changing the fact that the future is a contingent expression of the present and the past. They are not separate entities in their own right. In other-words “meta-time” is simply an outgrowth of the idea of relativity. Our experience of change is relative to our particular perspective. But this does not mean there is no change, but rather that our experience of it is dependent on how we view it. Using the analogy of relativity I see no reason to think potentiality or time is an illusion.

Notice that even on a B-theory of time that we do not lose the distinction of past present and future. Also notice that we truly gain in potential knowledge. If B-theory was the absence of change, then everything would be static, and an illusion of time would be impossible, since we would have to experience successive states in order to experience an illusion of change. So how can there be an illusion of change when there is no change?

This is a contradiction.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-theory_of_time

If the B-series is true, every point in time is equally real as the different lines on a ruler (that is, a canon, or measuring stick, not a king), and our perception of time as a thing with distinctions is as illusory as our perception of two different marks on a ruler being different in essence, instead of location.

I believe the B-series to be utterly untenable and self-refuting in any case. The Unreality of Time convinced me of the unreality of the B-series just as much of that as my study of transfinite set theory led me to an even stronger conviction that actual infinity is an absurd concept.

To illustrate, a piece of doggerel I wrote on the matter. The third stanza illustrates it well.

*For on a dreary, poorly-plotted winter’s night (about November Twenty-first it may have been?)
I found myself, wearied, roused by shafts of light:
For morning has come, when no stars still shine, (sometime after Polaris sunk below the horizon?)
I find myself face-to-face with none other than time.

My mind’s eye gazing upon past infinity,
Uncomprehending its metaphysical absurdity
I pondered at length the unreality of time:
A-series or B-series, which one is mine?

I am in the year of our Lord one-thousand fifty-four
Contemplating that ecclesiastical schism of years before.
Now, in the year of our Lord two-thousand twenty-one
That self-same schism has not yet begun.

[And I ask myself, is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible Old Testament yet done?]

On this account, the B-series seems to be what is,
Even more in accord with the latter-day physicist-philosophers,
Putting out the eyes of Justice with their own thumbs.
O, for a return to the Aristotelianism and Perpatetic school of yore,
The Philosopher-King yearning, grasping for the third realm of Forms;
I find myself seeking truth in the A-series, intellectual heritage forevermore!*

Excellent topic, imo.

This is something that has run through my head quite some time actually. Does this mean, in your opinion, that God is not free, because he cannot have a relative point of view like ours? Or I should say the Scholastic God. I can’t say he’s the same as mine.

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