A Puzzle concerning Time Perception

Synthese 142 (1):109 - 142 (2004)
Abstract
According to a plausible and influential account of perceptual knowledge, the truth-makers of beliefs that constitute perceptual knowledge must feature in the causal explanation of how we acquire those beliefs. However, this account runs into difficulties when it tries to accommodate time perception -- specifically perception of order and duration -- since the features we are apparently tracking in such perception are (it is argued) not causal. The central aim of the paper is to solve this epistemological puzzle. Two strategies are examined. The first strategy locates the causal truth-makers within the psychological mechanism underlying time perception, thus treating facts about time order and duration as mind-dependent. This strategy, however, is problematic. The second strategy modifies the causal account of perceptual knowledge to include a non-causal component in the explanation of belief-acquisition, namely chronometric explanation. Applying this much more satisfactory approach to perceptual knowledge of time, we can preserve the mind-independence of order and duration, but not that of time's flow.
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