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The Arguments of Time$
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Jeremy Butterfield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263464

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263464.001.0001

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Can There be a Literary Philosophy of Time?

Can There be a Literary Philosophy of Time?

(p.43) 3. Can There be a Literary Philosophy of Time?
The Arguments of Time

Gregory Currie

British Academy

This chapter takes the discussion of the metaphysics of time in a different direction. It asks whether the treatment of time in fictional narratives can teach anything about the nature of time, or the concepts and experience of it. In particular, it asks whether it can teach lessons that people cannot get from the usual philosophical studies of time. To pursue this question, the discussion assesses two main lines of thought that suggest the answer ‘Yes’. First, it focuses on such claims as that one can learn about time, and even about the self. Second, it considers the idea of appealing to a narrative with an unusual temporal structure, and to the ability to engage imaginatively with the narrative's time, to produce an argument that more usual structures are not necessary to time.

Keywords:   metaphysics, time, fictional narratives, philosophical studies, temporal structure

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