In ‘Location and Perdurance’ (2010), I argued that there are no compelling mereological or sortal grounds requiring the perdurantist to distinguish the molecule Abel from the atom Abel in Gilmore’s original case (2007). The remaining issue Gilmore originally raised concerned the ‘mass history’ of Adam and Abel, the distribution of ‘their’ mass over spacetime. My response to this issue was to admit that mass histories needed to be relativised to a way of partitioning the location of Adam/Abel, but that did (...) not amount to relativising any fundamental natural intrinsic properties—the latter are all had unrelativised, and (so most perdurantists would say). (shrink)
I use Jonathan Bennett’s, Gilles Deleuze’s and Pierre Macherey’s interpretations of Spinoza to extract a theory of time and duration from Spinoza. I argue that although time can be considered a product of the imagination, duration is a real property of existing things and corresponds to their essence, taking essence (as Deleuze does) as a degree of power of existing. The article then explores the relations among time, duration, essence and eternity, arguing against the idea that Spinoza’s (...) essences or Spinoza’s eternity are atemporal. Essences and eternity both involve necessary references to time, but the time involved is not that of the “fortuitous sequence of events” apprehended through sensory experience. Rather, the “time” is that implicit in the necessity of God’s self-determination through God’s differentiation into natura naturans and natura naturata, which is involved in the production and differentiation of eternal essences. (shrink)
The literature on time perception is discussed. This is done with reference both to the ''cognitive-timer'' model for time estimation and to the subjective experience of apparent duration. Three assumptions underlying the model are scrutinized. I stress the strong interplay among attention, arousal, and time perception, which is at the base of the cognitive-timer model. It is suggested that a multiplicative function of two key components (the number of subjective time units and their size) should predict apparent duration. (...) Implications for other cognitive domains are drawn, and in particular an analogy is suggested between apparent duration and apparent movement. (shrink)
This essay represents a reflection on the nature of shufa, the Chinese “art of writing,” and its ontological grounding as a continuous, “durational transcription,” of an inscriptional event, producing a phenomenology of “viewing.” This distinguishes it from ordinary writing (xiezi) in which attention is focused on the lexical meaning of the written characters (i.e., an experience of “reading”). Viewing a calligraphic inscription actually unfolding in time (i.e., as a dynamical structure or “temporal object event”), however, raises an interesting theoretical question (...) concerning the two complementary aspects of temporal consciousness of calligraphy as both duration and unity. This will be addressed in terms of recent discussions of a dynamical approach to Edmund Husserl’s theory of time consciousness. (shrink)
Physicist J. Richard Gott has given an argument that, if good, allows one to make accurate predictions for the future longevity of a process, based solely on its present age. We show that there are problems with some of the details of Gott’s argument, but we defend the crucial insight: in many circumstances, the greater the present age of a process, the more likely a longer future duration.
Summary. It is proposed to translate the mind-matter distinction into terms of mental and physical time. In the spirit of this idea, we hypothesize a relation between the intensity of mental presence and a crucial time scale (some seconds) often referred to as a measure for the duration of nowness. This duration is experimentally accessible and might, thus, offer a suitable way to characterize the intensity of mental presence. Interesting consequences with respect to the idea of a generalized (...) notion of mental presence, with human consciousness as a special case, are outlined. Our approach includes some features consistent with other, related ideas which are indicated. (shrink)
The physicist J. Richard Gott has given an argument which, if good, allows one to make accurate predictions for the future longevity of a process, based solely on its present age. We show that there are problems with some of the details of Gott's argument, but we defend the core thesis: in many circumstances, the greater the present age of a process, the more likely a longer future duration.
The WEAVER++ model discussed by Levelt et al. assumes incremental encoding and articulation following complete encoding. However, many of the response latency results can also be accounted for by assuming incremental articulation. Another temporal variable, initial segment duration, can distinguish WEAVER++'s incremental encoding account from the incremental articulation account.
We model the optimal copulation duration in the yellow dungflyScathophaga stercoraria, assuming that males optimize their reproductive success per day. The independent state-variables of a male are the actual sperm reserves, the female encounterrate and the time of the day. We used stochastic dynamic programming to predict the optimal copulation duration. The model predicts that copulation duration should increase (i) for larger males, (ii) for males with a better previous diet (iii) for males accepting more females (iv) (...) for males staying away from the dung during a whole day. It also predicts that (v) males on a restricted diet should accept fewer matings, (vi) testes size should shrivel during the day, (vii) the correlation coefficient between copulation duration and sequence number should decrease with increasing initial sperm reserve and with increasing number of copulations performed on a given day.There are two essential differences between our model and a model of Parker (1992). (i) Our model assumes that males optimize per day. Parker's model assumes that males optimize per mating bout, one bout comprising many days. (ii) Since all the important state variables depend only on the moment of the copulation, our model does not assume a long-time memory in dungflies, and it is more flexible than Parker's model. Overall, both models explain the data available equally well. (shrink)
Ischemic stroke involves numerous and complex pathophysiological mechanisms including blood flow reduction, ionic exchanges, spreading depressions and cell death through necrosis or apoptosis. We used a mathematical model based on these phenomena to study the influences of intensity and duration of ischemia on the final size of the infarcted area. This model relies on a set of ordinary and partial differential equations. After a sensibility study, the model was used to carry out in silico experiments in various ischemic conditions. (...) The simulation results show that the proportion of apoptotic cells increases when the intensity of ischemia decreases, which contributes to the model validation. The simulation results also show that the influence of ischemia duration on the infarct size is more complicated. They suggest that reperfusion is beneficial when performed in the early stroke but may be either inefficacious or even deleterious when performed later after the stroke onset. This aggravation could be explained by the depolarisation waves which might continue to spread ischemic damage and by the speeding up of the apoptotic process leading to cell death. The effect of reperfusion on cell death through these two phenomena needs to be further studied in order to develop new therapeutic strategies for stroke patients. (shrink)
Nancy Cartwright views models as blueprints for nomological machines ? machines that, if properly shielded, generate law?like behaviour or regularities. Marcel Boumans has argued that we can look for devices inside models, which enable us to measure aspects of these regularities. Therefore, if models do produce regular behaviour (Cartwright), they might perhaps generate numbers about phenomena in the world, provided we can locate a good measuring device in the model (Boumans). How do they do this? Models are often (...) understood to consist of internal principles and bridge principles. Both of these play a role in the measuring process. This paper suggests that we can understand the internal principles to be responsible for generating the regularities displayed by the model ? and for many users of the model, this is sufficient use. The bridge principles (following Cartwright ? ?the real bridge principles?) are a matter of picking the right mathematical representation to make the model work with respect to some real world case at hand. These ?real? bridge principles may enable the model to generate numbers and so serve to make the model into a measuring device. This paper explores this construction of a measuring device of duration dependence of unemployment. Since search theory cannot be made operational for this purpose duration models, which model of the outflow process of unemployment with a Weibull function, are taken as a representation of reservation wage setting in search models. As I show, this Weibull function serves as a bridge principle to make a measure of the elasticity of response between unemployment benefit and duration of unemployment. It enables measurement to take place by modelling behaviour according to some assumptions, which operate as constraints. While this Weibull function serves this purpose, its assumptions are arbitrary rather than connected to theory, and measurements generated with this bridge principle turn out to be highly sensitive to its specification. The Weibull function does enable the model to function as a measuring device, but the lack of ability to make newly invoked unobservable variables operational makes it of dubious worth. (shrink)
In his recent book The Stream of Consciousness, Dainton provides what must surely count as one of the most comprehensive discussions of time-consciousness in analytical philosophy. In the course of doing so, he also challenges Husserl's classical account in a number of ways. In the following contribution, I will compare Dainton's and Husserl's respective accounts. Such a comparison will not only make it evident why an analysis of time-consciousness is so important, but will also provide a neat opportunity to appraise (...) the contemporary relevance of Husserl's analysis. How does it measure up against one of the more recent analytical accounts? (shrink)
Theories of perception and of memory are closely allied. The binding problem (which considers how bits of perception are reassembled by the brain) leads to neurophysiological subjectivism. This could be outflanked by arguing with Bergson that perceiving consciousness is out in the world. Thus the brain would bind only behavioral “maps.” In turn, consciousness would retain our personal pasts. Such personal (episodic) memories both help us to recognize present objects and to perform creative acts. Memory, although retentive, is also creative. (...) This is important in rethinking biological and evolutionary memory. (shrink)
In this article, I consider the relevance of Bergson's theory of durée for an understanding of sculpture by focusing on the work of three canonical artists in the history of twentieth-century modernism: the French Cubist Raymond Duchamp-Villon, the Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni, and the London-based Vorticist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. While these sculptors produced widely divergent aesthetic forms, I argue that they all endorsed Bergson's notion of durée as a spontaneous process of qualitative differentiation. These artists reconfigured their medium in terms of (...) Bergson's process philosophy, whether in the guise of an artists? generative imagination (Duchamp-Villon), representations of the human body as a living center of indetermination (Boccioni), or the act of direct carving as an intuitive response to a sculptor's chosen material (Gaudier-Brzeska). These Bergsonian paradigms enable us to reassess Jack Burnham's evaluation of Bergson's impact in his seminal text Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of this Century (1968). Finally, by drawing on recent discussions of cybernetic and new media art, I will highlight the limitations of Burnham's categorical dismissal of Bergsonism as an outmoded metaphysics, irrelevant to newer conceptions of ?sculpture as system.? (shrink)
"This text shines like the sea: always in motion, in waves, short or long, with a thousand gleams of the sun, and a thousand small appearances of foam; and one is far from any coast." -Jean-Luc Nancy -/- Still, duration seems to be considered a "first-rate-value on earth," as deemed by Nietzsche more than 120 years ago, whereas transience tends to be negated. Eluding their re-presentationability, ephemera are sub-ordinated to the enduring and are only thought of as and in (...) relation to permanence. Thinking them as such rather than as such, this book unfolds an onto-phainoumenology of transience: a poiesis of the only once, as the only once- an ethics of dis/appearance, a praxis of uttering the unutterable. For there is no here for the now. (shrink)
I attempt to show, via considering Schlesinger’s device of putting the word ‘now’ in capitals, that the transient view of time can explicate temporal extensivity without presupposing it, and the static view can’t. The argument hinges on the point that duration is generated by continuance of the present—such that ‘the present’ here is used in a nontechnical, nonindexical, and nonreflexive sense, which Schlesinger and others unknowingly give to the word ‘now’ (by “NOW” or “Now” or “’now’”).
Contemporary physics, especially quantum theory, has raised profound questions about the relationship between the methods of science and the reality these methods seek to investigate. D'Espagnat investigates these questions as well as how we should answer them. Part I examines the practices of contemporary physicists and addresses the criticism philosophers of science have made of these practices. The doctrine of physical realism, adopted by most physicists and many philosophers of science, comprises Part II. Part III explores the consequences of physical (...) realism for our understanding of what science can seek to know of reality, and concludes by outlining the position contemporary physics indicates we should take. (shrink)
Heidegger claims in Being and Time that Bergson fails to overcome traditional ontology because his concept of time is fundamentally Aristotelian. On the basis of this hasty dismissal, it is tempting to conclude that Heidegger was not terribly interested in Bergson or that he only wanted to prevent readers from confusing his view of time with Bergson’s. To the contrary, a survey of Heidegger’s early lectures and writings on the issue of time reveals a strong interest in Bergson and an (...) acknowledgement of his importance as a pivotal thinker concerning time. In fact, Heidegger appropriates key aspects of Bergsonism, such as Bergson’s way of contrasting the measurement of time and its experiential origins, revealing that his ambivalence toward Bergson initially arises from concerns about his method and his concept of life rather than his understanding of time. (shrink)
The presentist view of time is psychologically appealing. I argue that, ironically, contingent facts about the temporal properties of consciousness are very difficult to square with presentism unless some form of mind/body dualism is embraced.
One of the major difficulties facing presentism is the problem of causation. In this paper, I propose a new solution to that problem, one that is compatible with intrinsic, fundamental causal relations. Accommodating relations of this kind is important because (i) according to David Lewis (2004), such relations are needed to account for causation in our world and worlds relevantly similar to our own, (ii) there is no other strategy currently available that successfully reconciles presentism with relations of this kind (...) and (iii) resolving the problem of causation by accommodating intrinsic, fundamental causal relations provides the presentist with a far more general solution to the problem of causation than those currently on offer. (shrink)
In this paper, we present an argument strengthening the view of Norman Daniels, Bruce Kennedy and Ichiro Kawachi that justice is good for one's health. We argue that the pathways through which social factors produce inequalities in sleep more strongly imply a unidirectional and non-voluntary causality than with most other public health issues. Specifically, we argue against the 'voluntarism objection' – an objection that suggests that adverse public health outcomes can be traced back to the free and voluntary choices of (...) individual actors. Our argument proceeds along two lines: an empirical line and a conceptual line. We first show that much of the empirical research on sleep supports the view that those with fewer opportunities are those who have poorer sleep habits. We then argue that sleep-related decisions are not of the same nature as most other lifestyle choices, and therefore are not as easily susceptible to the voluntarism objection. (shrink)
A 10 kHz pulsed X-ray generator utilising a hot-cathode triode in conjunction with a new type of grid control device for controlling X-ray duration is described. The energy-storage condenser was charged up to 70 kV by a power supply, and the electric charges in the condenser were discharged to the X-ray tube repetitively by the grid control device. The maximum values of the grid voltage (negative value), the tube voltage, and the tube current (...) were −1.5 kV, 70 kV, and 0.4 A, respectively. The duration of the flash X-ray pulse was primarily determined by the time constant of the grid control device and the cut-off voltage of thermoelectrons. The X-ray duration was controlled within a region of less than 1 ms; the X-ray intensity with a pulse width of 0.27 ms, a charged voltage of 70 kV, and a peak tube current of 0.4 A was 0.92 μC kg −1 at 0.5 m per pulse. The maximum repetition rate was about 10 kHz, and the size of the focal spot was about 3.5×3.5 mm. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on two aspects of eye movement behaviour that E-Z Reader 7 currently makes no attempt to explain: the influence of higher order psycholinguistic processes on fixation durations, and orthographic influences on initial and refixation locations on words. From our understanding of the current version of the model, it is not clear how it may be readily modified to account for existing empirical data.
Methods. We employed a "flicker" technique, in which an original and a modified image (each of duration 240 ms) continually alternated, with a blank field (duration 80 ms) between each display. Images were all of real-world scenes. One of three kinds of change (appearance/disappearance, color, or translation) was made to an object or region in each scene. Changes were large and easily seen under normal conditions. Subjects viewed the flicker display, and pressed a key when they noticed the (...) change. (shrink)
Though Kant calls the prohibition against suicide the first duty of human beings to themselves, his arguments for this duty lack his characteristic rigor and systematicity. The lack of a single authoritative Kantian approach to suicide casts doubt on what is generally regarded as an extreme and implausible position, to wit, that not only is suicide wrong in every circumstance, but is among the gravest moral wrongs. Here I try to remedy this lack of systematicity in order to show that (...) Kant's position on suicide is more appealing and credible than it seems at first glance. Kant in fact offers three distinct lines of argument against suicide. The first, the chief argument in his Lectures on Ethics, holds that suicide violates the divine will, for in willing our own deaths we usurp God's right to determine the duration of our existence; as God's property, we are not entitled to end our own lives willfully. The second, rooted in the Groundwork, holds that suicide is incompatible with a system of willed ends conceived analogously with a system of nature, so a maxim to commit suicide cannot be coherently willed as a universal practical principle. The third argument, drawn from the Metaphysics of Morals, holds that because suicide obliterates the rational will from the world, and as the rational will is the source of moral worth, suicide cannot be consistently willed by beings subject to moral requirements. To authorize oneself to take one's own life, Kant claims, is to attempt 'to withdraw from all obligation.' We cannot, under the color of morality, seek to cancel the will that authorizes all obligation in the first place. This third argument is demonstrably superior to the other two in being both more philosophically plausible in its own right and more Kantian in flavor. (shrink)
Microgenesis is a process model of the mind/brain state that has developed out of the study of clinical symptoms that arise with damage to the brain. The microgenetic theory of the mental state provides an account of the neural basis of duration, the present moment, and the replacement of one mental state by the next. The resemblance of this theory to the concepts of momentariness and the replication of points in Buddhist writings is explored here.
The paradigmatic assumption that REM sleep is the physiological equivalent of dreaming is in need of fundamental revision. A mounting body of evidence suggests that dreaming and REM sleep are dissociable states, and that dreaming is controlled by forebrain mechanisms. Recent neuropsychological, radiological, and pharmacological findings suggest that the cholinergic brain stem mechanisms that control the REM state can only generate the psychological phenomena of dreaming through the mediation of a second, probably dopaminergic, forebrain mechanism. The latter mechanism (and thus (...) dreaming itself) can also be activated by a variety of nonREM triggers. Dreaming can be manipulated by dopamine agonists and antagonists with no concomitant change in REM frequency, duration, and density. Dreaming can also be induced by focal forebrain stimulation and by complex partial (forebrain) seizures during nonREM sleep, when the involvement of brainstem REM mechanisms is precluded. Likewise, dreaming is obliterated by focal lesions along a specific (probably dopaminergic) forebrain pathway, and these lesions do not have any appreciable effects on REM frequency, duration, and density. These findings suggest that the forebrain mechanism in question is the final common path to dreaming and that the brainstem oscillator that controls the REM state is just one of the many arousal triggers that can activate this forebrain mechanism. The “REM-on” mechanism (like its various NREM equivalents) therefore stands outside the dream process itself, which is mediated by an independent, forebrain “dream-on” mechanism. Key Words: acetylcholine; brainstem; dopamine; dreaming; forebrain; NREM; REM; sleep. (shrink)
This essay analyzes the time of human activity. It begins by discussing how most accounts of action treat the time of action as succession, using Donald Davidson's account of action as illustration. It then argues that an adequate account of action and its determinants, one able to elucidate the ``indeterminacy of action,'' requires an alternative conception of action time. The remainder of the essay constructs a propitious account of the time and determination of action. It does so by critically drawing (...) on Henri Bergson's notion of duration and Martin Heidegger's notion of the teleological dimensionality (past, present, and future) of existence. Whereas Bergson provides valuable insights into the continuity of activity, Heidegger illuminates the determination of action. Combining their insights yields an account of the time of activity that supplements succession with a nonsuccessive temporality: the time of activity is an overlapping continuum of action performances each of which is structured as coming towards an end starting from a motivating state of affairs. The essay concludes with brief thoughts on what justifies calling the nonsuccessive dimensionality of existence a kind of time. (shrink)
In Minkowski spacetime, because of the relativity of simultaneity to the inertial frame chosen, there is no unique world-at-an-instant. Thus the classical view that there is a unique set of events existing now in a three dimensional space cannot be sustained. The two solutions most often advanced are (i) that the four-dimensional structure of events and processes is alone real, and that becoming present is not an objective part of reality; and (ii) that present existence is not an absolute notion, (...) but is relative to inertial frame; the world-at-an-instant is a three dimensional, but relative, reality. According to a third view, advanced by Robb, Capek and Stein, (iii) what is present at a given spacetime point is, strictly speaking, constituted by that point alone. I argue here against the first of these views that the four-dimensional universe cannot be said to exist now, already, or indeed at any time at all; so that talk of its existence or reality as if that precludes the existence or reality of the present is a non sequitur. The second view assumes that in relativistic physics time lapse is measured by the time co-ordinate function; against this I maintain that it is in fact measured by the proper time, as I argue by reference to the Twin Paradox. The third view, although formally correct, is tarnished by its unrealistic assumption of point-events. This makes it susceptible to paradox, and also sets it at variance with our normal intuitions of the present. I argue that a defensible concept of the present is nonetheless obtainable when account is taken of the non-instantaneity of events, including that of conscious awareness, as (iv) that region of spacetime comprised between the forward lightcone of the beginning of a small interval of proper time t (e.g. that during which conscious experience is laid down) and the backward lightcone of the end of that interval. This gives a serviceable notion of what is present to a given event of short duration, as well as saving our intuition of the “reality” or robustness of present events.. (shrink)
During the last hundred years the notion of time flow has been held in low esteem by philosophers of science. Since the metaphor depends heavily on the analogy with motion, criticisms of time flow have either attacked the analogy as poorly founded, or else argued by analogy from a “static” conception of motion. Thus (1) Bertrand Russell argued that just as motion can be conceived as existence at successive places at successive times without commitment to a state of motion at (...) an instant, so duration can be conceived as existence at each of the times at which a thing exists without any commitment to a becoming or flow from one instant to another. I call this the “at-at” objection to time flow. A second objection (2) is that the sufficiency of the “B-theoretic” conception of time for physics makes the concept of time flow otiose. On this rendering the existence of a thing through time is just the “tenseless existence” of the thing at each instant of the duration (or at each spacetime point), without any flow from one instant or point to another. A third objection (3) is that in relativity theory, owing to the relativity of simultaneity, there is no unique invariant ‘now’, or hyperplane of simultaneously occurring events. If time flow is conceived in terms of the flow of such a ‘now’, then the non-existence of a worldwide instant of occurrence appears to be refuted. Lastly, (4) a capstone to these criticisms is the objection famously raised by Jack Smart: if rate of flow of any quantity can only be reckoned with respect to time, then with respect to what does time flow? If it does not even make sense to ask how fast time flows, then surely the metaphor should be abandoned as confused. (shrink)
A central issue of cognitive neuroscience is to understand how a large collection of coupled neurons combines external signals with internal memories into new coherent patterns of meaning. An external stimulus localized at some input spreads over a large assembly of coupled neurons, building up a collective state univocally corresponding to the stimulus. Thus, the synchronization of spike trains of many individual neurons is the basis of a coherent perception. Based on recent investigations of homoclinic chaotic systems and their synchronization, (...) a novel conjecture for the dynamics of single neurons and, consequently, for neuron assemblies is formulated. Homoclinic chaos is proposed as a suitable way to code information in time by trains of equal spikes occurring at apparently erratic times. In order to classify the set of different perceptions, the percept space can be given a metric structure by introducing a distance measure between distinct percepts. The distance in percept space is conjugate to the duration of the perception in the sense that an uncertainty relation in percept space is associated with time-limited perceptions. This coding of different percepts by synchronized spike trains entails fundamental quantum features which are not restricted to microscopic phenomena. It is conjectured that they are related to the details of the perceptual chain rather than depending on Planck's action. (shrink)
According to Hume, the idea of a persisting, self-identical object, distinct from our impressions of it, and the idea of a duration of time, the mere passage of time without change, are mutually supporting "fictions". Each rests upon a "mistake", the commingling of "qualities of the imagination" or "impressions of reflection" with "external" impressions (perceptions), and, strictly speaking, we are conceptually and epistemically entitled to neither. Among Kant's aims in the First Critique is the securing of precisely these entitlements. (...) Like Hume, he acknowledges the correlativity of the notions of temporal duration and persisting self-identical objects (i.e., continuant substances). Unlike Hume, however, he undertakes to establish the legitimacy or objective validity of the schematized category of substance and, correspondingly, of the representation of time as a formal unity with duration as one of its modes. (shrink)
Time’s arrow is necessary for progress from a past that has already happened to a future that is only potential until creatively determined in the present. But time’s arrow is unnecessary in Einstein’s so-called block universe, so there is no creative unfolding in an actual present. How can there be an actual present when there is no universal moment of simultaneity? Events in various places will have different presents according to the position, velocity, and nature of the perceiver. Standing against (...) this view is traditional common sense since we normally experience time’s arrow as reality and the present as our place in the stream of consciousness, but we err to imagine we are living in the actual present. The present of our daily experience is actually a specious present, according to E. Robert Kelly (later popularized by William James), or duration, according to Henri Bergson, an habitus, as elucidated by Kerby (1991), or, simply, the psychological present (Adams, 2010) – all terms indicating that our experienced present so consists of the past overlapping into the future that any potential for acting from the creative moment is crowded out. Yet, for philosophers of process from Herakleitos onward, it is the philosophies of change or process that treat time’s arrow and the creative fire of the actual present as realities. In this essay, I examine the most well known but possibly least understood process cosmology of Alfred North Whitehead to seek out this elusive but actual present. In doing so, I will also ask if process philosophy is itself an example of the creative imagination and if this relates to doing science. I conclude Whitehead's process philosophy falls short of allowing for the actual creative spontaneity of a dynamic (eternal) present. (shrink)
In what follows, I suggest that, against most theories of time, there really is an actual present, a now, but that such an eternal moment cannot be found before or after time. It may even be semantically incoherent to say that such an eternal present exists since “it” is changeless and formless (presumably a dynamic chaos without location or duration) yet with creative potential. Such a field of near-infinite potential energy could have had no beginning and will have no (...) end, yet within it stirs the desire to experience that brings forth singularities, like the one that exploded into the Big Bang (experiencing itself through relative and relational spacetime). From the perspective of the eternal now of near-infinite possibilities (if such a sentence can be semantically parsed at all), there is only the timeless creative present, so the Big Bang did not happen some 13 billion years ago. Inasmuch as there is neither time past nor time future nor any time at all at the null point of forever, we must understand the Big Bang (and all other events) as taking place right here and now. In terms of the eternal now, the beginning is happening now and we just appeared (and are always just appearing) to witness it. The rest is all conscious construction; time and experience are so entangled, they need each other to exist. (shrink)
: Descartes provides an original and puzzling argument for the traditional theological doctrine that the world is continuously created by God. His key premise is that the parts of the duration of anything are "completely independent" of one another. I argue that Descartes derives this temporal independence thesis simply from the principle that causes are necessarily simultaneous with their effects. I argue further that it follows from Descartes's version of the continuous creation doctrine that God is the instantaneous and (...) total cause of everything that happens, and that this is just what his physics demands. But although God is the total cause of everything, he is not the only cause, since Descartes considers it obvious that finite minds have the power to move bodies. In the face of this apparent paradox, several recent commentators have suggested that Descartes accepted the late scholastic view that God and finite causes somehow collaborate or concur in the production of numerically identical effects. But close examination reveals that the case for Cartesian concurrentism is weak. Fortunately, there is a simpler and more fruitful solution to the problem of reconciling divine and human action. I argue that that in Descartes's world certain motions, such as voluntary movements of our bodies, are causally overdetermined This account allows Descartes to avoid occasionalism without embracing an elaborate metaphysics of secondary causality. Finally, I argue that the overdeterminist interpretation sheds new light on two longstanding problems of Cartesian metaphysics. First, it resolves a serious difficulty with a standard reading of Descartes's conception of human freedom. Second, it offers a novel approach to the old problem of reconciling genuine human action with the principle of the conservation of total quantity of motion. (shrink)
The hypothesis that some moods are emotions has been rejected in philosophy, and is an unpopular alternative in psychology. This is because there is wide agreement that moods have a number of features distinguishing them from emotions. These include: lack of an intentional object and the related notion of lack of a goal; being of long duration; having pervasive or widespread effects; and having causes rather than reasons. Leading theories of mood have tried to explain these purported features by (...) describing moods as global changes in the mind affecting such things as predispositions to holding certain beliefs or the thresholds for triggering a range of relevant behaviors. I show instead that our best understanding of emotions can show that basic emotions either have or can appear to have each of these features. Thus, a plausible hypothesis is that certain moods are emotions. This theory is more parsimonious than the global change theories, and for this reason is to be preferred as an explanation of some moods. (shrink)
This paper provides an in-depth analysis of Deleuze's interpretation of Bergson, based on his largely ignored 1956 essay, Mergson's Conception of Difference. In this essay, Deleuze first attacks the Hegelian tradition for misunderstanding the notion of difference by reducing it to negation and then uses Bergson's concept of duration – a flow of purely qualitative mental states – to formulate a notion of difference utterly internal to itself, that is, irreducible to negation. The paper argues that this temporalization of (...) difference represents a permanent feature of Deleuze's philosophy – one particularly visible in his highly influential book on Nietzsche – and concludes that Deleuze's Nietzsche therefore appears molded by a Bergsonian imprint. (shrink)
In this paper I shall attempt to argue for the simple view of personal identity. I shall first argue that we often do have warrant for our beliefs that we exist as continuing subjects of experience, and that these beliefs are justified independently of any reductionist analysis of what it means to be a person. This has two important implications that are relevant to the ongoing debate concerning the number of persons that are in existence throughout any duration in (...) time: (1) the lack of logically or metaphysically necessary and sufficient conditions for distinguishing one person from another should imply neither that there is only one person nor that personhood is not individuative; and (2) the lack of such universally applicable identity criteria should not imply that the term ‘person’ is a folk term with no real application. In other words, lack of reductionist analysis does not entail lack of existence. (shrink)
Two studies explore the frequently reported finding that affective forecasts are too extreme. In the first study, driving test candidates forecast the emotional consequences of failing. Test failers overestimated the duration of their disappointment. Greater previous experience of this emotional event did not lead to any greater accuracy of the forecasts, suggesting that learning about one's own emotions is difficult. Failers' self-assessed chances of passing were lower a week after the test than immediately prior to the test; this difference (...) correlated with the magnitude of individual immediate disappointments, suggesting the presence of a cognitive strategy for recovering from disappointments. A second study investigated the theory that undue focus on the differences between present and future biases affective forecasts. “Defocusing” that induced low-level construals of the future reduced the extremeness of affective forecasts but a higher-level construal did not. We conclude that a focusing effect may bias affective forecasts. (shrink)
James argued that time is a sensation, and the main point of this paper is to deny that claim. The concept of the specious present is explained, indicating how it clarifies the concept of "the present moment." But neither it nor an argument used by Mach and James show time to be a sensation. The analysis presented here requires distinguishing concepts of sensation from concepts of temporal relations. James' view is really a theory that time-as-duration is sensed. But this (...) assumes that the description of time as sensed is also a description of time as an objective property of independent events. This is nowhere established, and making it plausible is a recurrent problem for philosophies like neutral monism and radical empiricism. (shrink)
Several recent investigations (Grimes, in press; McConkie and Currie, in preparation) report that large changes in images of natural scenes can remain unnoticed if these are made during saccades. We show here that similar massive effects can be obtained without synchronization to saccades. This is done via a "flicker" technique in which an original and an altered image (each of duration 240 ms) are repetitively alternated, with a blank field (duration 27 or 290 ms) between each display. One (...) of four kinds of change (color, left-right reflection, translation, or appearance/disappearance) were made in the foreground or background of each scene. Many of these changes were difficult to detect, even over long periods of observation (35 seconds). We believe that this is due to the spatially-distributed transient induced by the blank field, which swamps the localized flash that would otherwise draw attention to the changes; observers were therefore forced to rely on higher-level (probably non-iconic) representations of the scenes to detect the change. Our results indicate that the failure to notice scene changes during saccades is not due to saccade-specific mechanisms, but rather, involves more general mechanisms of visual attention. (shrink)
My goal is to conceive how the reality would look like for hypothetical creatures that supposedly perceive on time scales much faster or much slower than that of us humans. To attain the goal, I propose modelling in two steps. At step one, we have to single out a unified parameter that sets time scale of perception. Changing substantially the value of the parameter would mean changing scale. I argue that the required parameter is duration of discrete perceptive frames, (...) or snapshots, whose sequencing constitutes perceptive process. I show that different standard durations of perceptive frames is the ground for differences in perceptive time scales of various animals. Abnormally changed duration of perceptive frames is the cause of the effect of distorted subjective time observed by humans under some conditions. Now comes step two of the modelling. By inserting some arbitrary duration of a perceptive frame, we set a hypothetical scale and thus emulate a viewpoint for virtual observation of the reality in a wider or narrower angle of embracing events in time. Like changing lenses of a microscope, viewing reality in different temporal scales makes certain features of reality manifested, others veiled. These are, in particular, features of life. If we observe an object in an inappropriate interval, we may not notice the very essence of a process it is undergoing. (shrink)
This paper will argue that the puzzles about instantaneous velocity, and rates of change more generally, are the result of a failure to recognize an ambiguity in the concept of an instant, and therefore of an instantaneous state. We will conclude that there are two distinct conceptions of a temporal instant: (i) instants conceived as fundamentally distinct zero-duration temporal atoms and (ii) instants conceived as the boundary of, or between,temporally extended durations. Since the concept of classical instantaneous velocity is (...) well- deﬁned only on the second conception of instants, we will conclude that this distinction allows us to avoid the above dilemma. If instantaneous velocity is well-deﬁned then the states of a system at various instants are not logically distinct and thus we cannot generate Zeno’s paradox. However, if we assume that the instants are metaphysically distinct, then instantaneous velocity is not well-deﬁned and thus the second horn of the dilemma about the causal-explanatory role of instantaneous velocity cannot be generated. (shrink)
The ancient philosophical school of Epicureanism tried to argue that death is "nothing to us." Were they right? James Warren provides a comprehensive study and articulation of the interlocking arguments against the fear of death found not only in the writings of Epicurus himself, but also in Lucretius' poem De rerum natura and in Philodemus' work De morte. These arguments are central to the Epicurean project of providing ataraxia (freedom from anxiety) and therefore central to an understanding of Epicureanism as (...) a whole. They also offer significant resources for modern discussions of the value of death--one which stands at the intersection of metaphysics and ethics. If death is the end of the subject, and the subject can not be benefited nor harmed after death, is it reasonable nevertheless to fear the ceasing-to-be? If the Epicureans are not right to claim that the dead can neither be benefited nor harmed, what alternative models might be offered for understanding the harm done by death and do these alternatives suffer from any further difficulties? The discussion involves consideration of both ethical and metaphysical topics since it requires analysis not only of the nature of a good life but also the nature of personal identity and time. A number of modern philosophers have offered criticisms or defences of the Epicureans' views. Warren explores and evaluates these in the light of a systematic and detailed study of the precise form and intention of the Epicureans' original arguments. Warren argues that the Epicureans also were interested in showing that mortality is not to be regretted and that premature death is not to be feared. Their arguments for these conclusions are to be found in their positive conception of the nature of a good and complete life, which divorce the completeness of a life as far as possible from considerations of its duration. Later chapters investigate the nature of a life lived without the fear of death and pose serious problems for the Epicureans being able to allow any concern for the post mortem future and being able to offer a positive reason for prolonging a life which is already complete in their terms. (shrink)
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle appears to use an elegant short argument to attack Plato’s doctrine of the good, which argument equally appears to attack Aristotle’s own doctrine of the good. I consider these two questions: First: Why does Aristotle reverse the judgment of Socrates/Plato on the issue: Which is better – things that are (only) good in themselves, or things that are both good in themselves and good for their consequences? Second: Why does Aristotle attack Plato’s doctrine that the (...) Form of the Good is the chief good, with an argument that appears to threaten his own view that eudaimonia is the chief good? I think the answers to these two questions are related. The elegant short argument in question I call “Aristotle’s Fast Argument.”After apologizing for criticizing views held by friends of his, Aristotle deploys the Fast Argument as a clincher to cap off his refutation of Plato’s view that the Form of the Good is the chief good: “And one might ask the question, what in the world they mean by ‘a thing itself’, if in man himself and in a particular man the account of man is one and the same. For in so far as they are men, they will in no respect differ; and if this is so, neither will there be a difference in so far as they are good. But again it will not be good any the more for being eternal, since that which lasts long is no whiter than that which perishes in a day.” (Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, 1096 a34–b4). I explore this sketchily presented Fast Argument. I consider why Aristotle may think it is valid and why he does not seem to realize that, on readings that make it effective against Plato’s view, his Fast Argument also seems to apply to his own view that eudaimonia is the chief good. This is what I will call “Aristotle’s Dilemma.” If the Fast Argument is interpreted too narrowly, its point about the whiteness of a white thing being independent of its duration will not apply to the goodness of the Form of the Good. If it is interpreted broadly enough to undermine the claim of the Form of the Good to be the chief good, it will equally undermine that claim for eudaimonia. Finally, I discuss some of the things Plato and Aristotle say about the chief good, and comparable things Immanuel Kant says about the good will. I draw some speculative conclusions that focus on the importance for Aristotle of the goodness of the chief good not being at risk. (shrink)
: Henri Bergson's philosophy has attracted increasing feminist attention in recent years as a fruitful locus for re-theorizing temporality. Drawing on Luce Irigaray's well-known critical description of metaphysics as phallocentrism, Hill argues that Bergson's deduction of duration is predicated upon the disavowal of a sexed hierarchy. She concludes the article by proposing a way to move beyond Bergson's phallocentrism to articulate duration as a sensible and transcendental difference that articulates a nonhierarchical qualitative relation between the sexes.
No natural rights theory justifies strong intellectual property rights. More specifically, no theory within the entire domain of natural rights thinking – encompassing classical liberalism, libertarianism and left-libertarianism, in all their innumerable variants – coherently supports strengthening current intellectual property rights. Despite their many important differences, all these natural rights theories endorse some set of members of a common family of basic ethical precepts. These commitments include non-interference, fairness, non-worsening, consistency, universalisability, prior consent, self-ownership, self-governance, and the establishment of zones (...) of autonomy. Such commitments have clear applications pertaining to the use and ownership of created ideas. I argue that each of these commitments require intellectual property rights to be substantially limited in scope, strength and duration. In this way the core mechanisms of natural rights thinking ensure a robust public domain and categorically rule out strong intellectual property rights. (shrink)
A human mission to Mars is technologically feasible, but hugely expensive requiring enormous financial and political commitments. A creative solution to this dilemma would be a one way human mission to Mars in place of the manned return mission that remains stuck on the drawing board. Our proposal would cut the costs several fold but ensure at the same time a continuous commitment to the exploration of Mars in particular and space in general. It would also obviate the need for (...) years of rehabilitation for returning astronauts, which would not be an issue if the astronauts were to remain in the low gravity environment of Mars. We envision that Mars exploration would begin and proceed for a long time on the basis of outbound journeys only. A mission to Mars could use some of the hardware that has been developed for the Moon program. One approach could be to send four astronauts initially, two on each of two space craft, each with a lander and sufficient supplies, to stake a single outpost on Mars. A one way human mission to Mars would not be a fixed duration project as in the Apollo program, but the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet. The astronauts would be re supplied on a periodic basis from Earth with basic necessities, but otherwise would be expected to become increasingly proficient at harvesting and utilizing resources available on Mars. Eventually the outpost would reach self sufficiency, and then it could serve as a hub for a greatly expanded colonization program. There are many reasons why a human colony on Mars is a desirable goal, scientifically and politically. The strategy of one way missions brings this goal within technological and financial feasibility. Nevertheless, to attain it would require not only major international cooperation, but a return to the exploration spirit and risk taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays being replaced with a culture of safety and political correctness.. (shrink)
The value of resting electroencephalogram (EEG) in revealing neural constitutes of consciousness (NCC) was examined. We quantified the dynamic repertoire, duration and oscillatory type of EEG microstates in eyes-closed rest in relation to the degree of expression of clinical self-consciousness. For NCC a model was suggested that contrasted normal, severely disturbed state of consciousness and state without consciousness. Patients with disorders of consciousness were used. Results suggested that the repertoire, duration and oscillatory type of EEG microstates in resting (...) condition quantitatively related to the level of consciousness expression in brain-damaged patients and healthy-conscious subjects. Specifically, results demonstrated that (a) decreased number of EEG microstate types was associated with altered states of consciousness, (b) unawareness was associated with the lack of diversity in EEG alpha-rhythmic microstates, and (c) the probability for the occurrence and duration of delta-, theta- and slow-alpha-rhythmic microstates were associated with unawareness, whereas the probability for the occurrence and duration of fast-alpha-rhythmic microstates were associated with consciousness. In conclusion, resting EEG has a potential value in revealing NCC. This work may have implications for clinical care and medical–legal decisions in patients with disorders of consciousness. (shrink)
In many of his writings Russell developed a theory of time,highly interesting bothfrom a philosophical and from a logical point of view.Strangely enough, this has not acquired generalattention. The most important relational propertiesof the duration and points of time will be presented.In addition, Russell''s considerations on the existenceand density of time points will becritically analysed and systematically reconstructed.A. G. Walker''s explication of the concept of timepoint is unlike that of Russell. His theory oftime reflects the Dedekindian concept of cut.Walker''s (...) constructions will be modified in a suitableway and supplemented so that it becomes possileto prove the continuity of the temporal series. (shrink)
According to the Buddhist concept of ?dependent origination? (prat?tyasamutp?da), discrete factors come into existence because of a combination of causes (hetu) and conditions (pratyaya). Such discrete factors, further, are combinations of five aggregates (pañ caskandha) that, themselves, are subject to constant change. Discrete factors, therefore, lack a self-nature (?tman). The passing through time of discrete factors is characterized by the ?characteristic marks of the conditioned?: birth (utp?da), change in continuance (sthityanyath?tva), and passing away (vyaya); or, alternatively: birth (j?ti), duration (...) (sthiti), decay (jar?), and impermanence (anityat?). In the interpretation of the precise nature of these characteristic marks of the conditioned, and their relation to the discrete factor they characterize, different opinions were prevalent within the Sarv?stiv?da School of Buddhist philosophy, with, judging from later scholastic literature, the views of the D?r???ntika/Sautr?ntika and the Vaibh??ika sub-schools as most prominent ones. The Indian and Chinese Madhyamaka philosophers pointed to the fallacies in the Sarv?stiv?da interpretations of the nature of the characteristic marks of the conditioned and their relation to the discrete factors they characterize, and, hence, to the fallacies in the Sarv?stiv?da interpretations of the concepts ?time? and ?temporality? (shrink)
The main task of this paper is to understand if and how static images like photographs can represent and/or depict temporal extension (duration). In order to do this, a detour will be necessary to understand some features of the nature of photographic representation and depiction in general. This important detour will enable us to see that photographs (can) have a narrative content, and that the skilled photographer can 'tell a story' in a very clear sense, as well as control (...) and guide the attention of the spectator of the photograph. The understanding and defence of this claim is a secondary aim of this paper, and it will then allow us to provide a good treatment of the particular case of photographic representation and depiction of temporal extension. (shrink)