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MCTAGGART against A - The following is the part of the...

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32 J. M. E. MCTAGGART We must begin with the A series, rather than with past, present, and future, as separate terms. And we must say that a series is an A series when each of its terms has, to an entity X outside the series, one, and only one, of three indefinable relations, pastness, presentness, and futurity, which are such that all the terms which have the relation of presentness to X fall between all the terms which have the relation of pastness to X, on the one hand, and all the terms which have the relation of futurity to X. on the other hand. .., We have come to the conclusion that an A series depends on relations to a term outside the A series. This term, then, could not itself be in time, and yet must be such that different relations to it determine the other terms of those relations, as being past, present, or future. To find such a term would not be easy, and yet such a term must be found, if the A series is to be real. But there is a more positive difficulty in the way of the reality of the A series. Past, present, and future are incompatible determinations. Every event must be one or the other, but no event can be more than one. If I say that any event is past, that implies that it is neither present nor future, and so with the others. And this exclusiveness is essential to change, and therefore to time. For the only change we can get is from future to present, and from present to past.
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