The Speed of Thought. Experience of Change, Movement, and Time: A Lockean Account

Locke Studies 12:85-110 (2012)
This paper is about our experience of change and movement, and thus about our experience of time – at least under the reasonable assumption that we (can only) experience time by having experiences of change. This assumption is shared by Locke, whose view on temporal experience, expounded in Book II, Chap.14 of his Essay, will be the main focal point of my paper. Some of the most influential accounts of temporal experience embrace the notion of a "specious present" as an explanatory tool in order to account for the continuous and unfolding aspect of our experiences. In this article, I will raise some points of dissatisfaction with the very notion of the specious present, and while I shall not reject the specious present theories, I will argue that more is needed in order to have a proper understanding and explanation of our temporal experience. I will then discuss and defend a view of temporal experience whose basis can be found in Locke's Essay, and which, given some amendments and further development within a contemporary framework, provides us with a very good analysis of our experience of movement, change, and time – a view that helps us to avoid some burdensome commitments incurred by specious present theories and that can be fruitfully combined with these theories in order to yield a complete and more informative picture of the phenomenon of temporal experience.
Keywords Locke  temporal experience  specious present
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