The B-Theory of Time and the Fear of Death
University of Leeds
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-theorists, 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.