: We seem to directly perceive external things. But can we? According to the time-lag argument, we cannot. What we directly perceive happens now. There is a time-lag between our perceptions and the external things we seem to directly perceive; these external things happen in the past; thus, what we directly perceive must be something else, for example, sense-data, and we can only at best indirectly perceive other things. This paper examines the time-lag argument given contemporary metaphysics. (...) I argue that this argument is not as compelling as it may initially seem. First, it denies that what we directly perceive can ever be what it seems to be; second, it conflicts with the current physical conception of time, relativity theory. This latter point leads to a more general one: the argument's force depends on a particular metaphysical conception on time, presentism, which is controversial in contemporary metaphysics of time. Given the alternative conception, eternalism, the argument is much less compelling. The overall argument of this paper, then, is that, if one wishes to hold that we directly perceive external things, we should subscribe to the latter view of time, i.e., eternalism. (shrink)
Echo experiences are illusory experiences of ordinary primary sounds. Just as there is no new object that we see at the surface of a mirror, there is no new sound that we hear at a reflecting surface. The sound that we hear as an echo just is the original primary sound, though its perception involves illusions of place, time, and qualities. The case of echoes need not force us to adopt a conception according to which sounds are persisting object-like particulars (...) that travel through space. (shrink)
In opposition to traditional forms of dualism and monism, the author holds that our bodily self includes certain aspects of otherness. This is shown concerning the phenomenological issues of intentionality, of self-awareness and of intersubjectivity, by emphasizing the dimension of pathos. We are affected by what happens to us before being able to respond to it by acts or actions. Every sense, myself and others are born out of pathos. The original alienness of our own body, including neurological processes, creates (...) shifting degrees of nearness and remoteness, and allows for pathological deviations such as depersonalisation, paranoia or trauma. Such a phenomenology of body crosses the borderlines of different disciplines. (shrink)
Prospect Theory (PT) is widely regarded as the most promising descriptive model for decision making under uncertainty. Various tests have corroborated the validity of the characteristic fourfold pattern of risk attitudes implied by the combination of probability weighting and value transformation. But is it also safe to assume stable PT preferences at the individual level? This is not only an empirical but also a conceptual question. Measuring the stability of preferences in a multi-parameter decision model such as PT is far (...) more complex than evaluating single-parameter models such as Expected Utility Theory under the assumption of constant relative risk aversion. There exist considerable interdependencies among parameters such that allegedly diverging parameter combinations could in fact produce very similar preference structures. In this paper, we provide a theoretic framework for measuring the (temporal) stability of PT parameters. To illustrate our methodology, we further apply our approach to 86 subjects for whom we elicit PT parameters twice, with a time lag of 1 month. While documenting remarkable stability of parameter estimates at the aggregate level, we find that a third of the subjects show significant instability across sessions. (shrink)
In the context of a parametric theory (with the time being a dynamical variable) we consider here the coupling between the quantum vacuum and the background gravitation that pervades the universe (unavoidable because of the universality and long range of gravity). We show that this coupling, combined with the fourth Heisenberg relation, would break the parametric invariance of the gravitational equations, introducing thus a difference between the marches of the atomic and the astronomical clocks. More precisely, they would be progressively (...) and adiabatically desynchronized with respect to one another in such a way that the latter would lag behind the former. This would produce a discrepancy between gravitational theory and observations, which use astronomical and atomic time respectively. It turns out that this result, surprising at it might be, is fully compatible with current physics, since it does not conflict with any known physical law or principle. We argue that this phenomenon must be studied, since it could have cosmological consequences. (shrink)
We present an approach for the quantification of directional relations in multiple time series exhibiting significant zero-lag interactions. To overcome the limitations of the traditional multivariate autoregressive (MVAR) modelling of multiple series, we introduce an extended MVAR (eMVAR) framework allowing either exclusive consideration of time-lagged effects according to the classic notion of Granger causality, or consideration of combined instantaneous and lagged effects according to an extended causality definition. The spectral representation of the eMVAR model is exploited to derive novel frequency (...) domain causality measures that generalize to the case of instantaneous effects the known directed coherence (DC) and partial DC measures. The new measures are illustrated in theoretical examples showing that they reduce to the known measures in the absence of instantaneous causality, and describe peculiar aspects of directional interaction among multiple series when instantaneous causality is non-negligible. Then, the issue of estimating eMVAR models from time-series data is faced, proposing two approaches for model identification and discussing problems related to the underlying model assumptions. Finally, applications of the framework on cardiovascular variability series and multichannel EEG recordings are presented, showing how it allows one to highlight patterns of frequency domain causality consistent with well-interpretable physiological interaction mechanisms. (shrink)
I distinguish paradoxes and hypodoxes among the conundrums of time travel. I introduce ‘hypodoxes’ as a term for seemingly consistent conundrums that seem to be related to various paradoxes, as the Truth-teller is related to the Liar. In this article, I briefly compare paradoxes and hypodoxes of time travel with Liar paradoxes and Truth-teller hypodoxes. I also discuss Lewis’ treatment of time travel paradoxes, which I characterise as a Laissez Faire theory of time travel. Time travel paradoxes are impossible according (...) to Laissez Faire theories, while it seems hypodoxes are possible. (shrink)
This paper outlines some key issues that arise when agency and temporality are considered jointly, from the perspective of psychology, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology, and action theory. I address the difference between time simpliciter and time as represented as it figures in phenomena like intentional binding, goal-oriented action plans, emulation systems, and ‘temporal agency’. An examination of Husserl’s account of time consciousness highlights difficulties in generalizing his account to include a substantive notion of agency, a weakness inherited by explanatory projects like (...) neurophenomenology. I conclude by sketching a project analogous to the projects in neurophenomenology, based on Thompson’s naïve action theory. (shrink)
Thinking about time travel is an entertaining way to explore how to understand time and its location in the broad conceptual landscape that includes causation, fate, action, possibility, experience, and reality. It is uncontroversial that time travel towards the future exists, and time travel to the past is generally recognized as permitted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, though no one knows yet whether nature truly allows it. Coherent time travel stories have added flair to traditional debates over the metaphysical (...) status of the past, the reality of temporal passage, and the existence of free will. Moreover, plausible models of time travel and time machines can be used to investigate the subtle relation between space-time structure and causality. -/- It surveys some philosophical issues concerning time travel and should serves as a quick introduction. It includes a new and improved way to define a time machine. (shrink)
McTaggart famously argued that time is unreal. Today, almost no one agrees with his conclusion. But his argument remains the locus classicus for both the A-theory and the B-theory of time. I show how McTaggart’s argument provided the impetus for both of these opposing views of the nature of time. I also present and defend what I take to be the correct view of the nature of time.
It sometimes happens that advances in one area of philosophy can be applied to a quite different area of philosophy, and that the result is an unexpected significant advance. I think that this is true of the philosophy of time and meta-ethics. Developments in the philosophy of time have led to a new understanding of the relation between semantics and metaphysics. Applying these insights to the field of meta-ethics, I will argue, can suggest a new position with respect to moral (...) discourse and moral reality. This new position retains the advantages of theories like moral realism and naturalism, yet is immune to many of their difficulties. (shrink)
Extending on an earlier paper [Found. Phys. Ltt., 16(4) 343–355, (2003)], it is argued that instants of time and the instantaneous (including instantaneous relative position) do not actually exist. This conclusion, one which is also argued to represent the correct solution to Zeno’s motion paradoxes, has several implications for modern physics and for our philosophical view of time, including that time and space cannot be quantized; that contrary to common interpretation, motion and change are compatible with the “block” universe and (...) relativity; and that time, space, and space-time too, cannot exist. Instead, motion and change become the major players. (shrink)
Bergson argues for free will by showing that the arguments against it come from a confusion of different conceptions of time. As opposed to physicists' idea of measurable time, in human experience life is perceived as a continuous and unmeasurable flow rather than as a succession of marked-off states of consciousness--something that can be measured not quantitatively, but only qualitatively. His conclusion is that free will is an observable fact.
Presentism is the view that only present entities exist. Recently, several authors have asked the question whether presentism is able to account for cross-time relations, i.e., roughly, relations between entities existing at different times. In this paper I claim that this question is to be answered in the affirmative. To make this claim plausible, I consider four types of cross-time relation and show how each can be accommodated without difficulty within the metaphysical framework of presentism.
Years ago, Michael Dummett defended McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time, arguing that it cannot be dismissed as guilty of an “indexical fallacy.” Recently, E. J. Lowe has disputed Dummett’s claims for the cogency of the argument. I offer an elaboration and defense of Dummett’s interpretation of the argument (though not of its soundness). I bring to bear some work on tense from the philosophy of language, and some recent work on the concept of the past as it occurs (...) in memory, in an effort to support the claim that McTaggart is not guilty of any simple indexical fallacy. Along the way I criticize an account of what is at stake in disputes about the reality of tense due to A. W. Moore, and I argue for the superiority of the conception of tense-realism that is implicit in McTaggart’s work. The paper is intended to prepare the ground for a substantive defense of the reality of tense. (shrink)
For Vajrayana Buddhism, the now is an interval, a boundary, a point of tension and suspension with an atmosphere of uncertainty. It is a bifurcation point of variable length; its name is “bardo.” The bardo is immersed in the conventional, or “seeming” reality. It emerges from what is called the “unstained” ultimate or primordial emptiness or “basal clear light.” Further, the ultimate (basal clear light) is not the sphere of cognition. Cognition, including cognition of time, belongs to conventional reality. (...) Buddhahood, in contrast, is a condition of uncompounded knowledge where basic mind blossoms without temporal or other cognitive distinctions, unmade, unfabricated, luminous and pristine. -/- Cyclical existence involves both the ultimate and the conventional as it moves through six bardos—all of which are the effulgent of the basal clear light—until Buddhahood. The six are: the bardo of this life (or birth); the bardo of dream; the bardo of meditation; the bardo of dying; the bardo of dharmata (or reality); and the bardo of existence. Each realm is both ultimate and conventional, and has specific initiation-based yogas to investigate these differences. The process of transition from one to the next involves at least three bodies, one mind, and aspects of speech. -/- In each bardo, the character of the now as embodiment and temporal knowing varies yet a complete and consistent cross-bardo yogic wisdom leads to its total cessation in the basal clear light; the now is extinguished. -/- The author presents, from the viewpoint of a knowledgeable practitioner of over 30 years, an essay on Vajrayana Buddhist time, drawing implications for Fraser’s time typology. The essay will draw from English translations of significant older, tantric texts on dream yoga (Tsongkhapa, 1996), deity yoga (Fremantle, 2001), the Chod (Edou, 1996), tantric time (T. Gyatso, 1985; Prasad, 1991; Berzin,1997; Lamrimpa, 1999; and K. Gyatso, 2004), the bardo of death (Fremantil 2001), and empowerment (Rangdrol, 1993). Useful practices that can be applied by the audience to test the tradition and author’s assertions will be suggested (Tulku, 1977). (shrink)
I take up Kant's remarks about a "transcendental deduction" of the "concepts of space and time" (A87/B119-120). I argue for the need to make a clearer assessment of the philosophical resources of the Aesthetic in order to account for this transcendental deduction. Special attention needs to be given to the fact that the central task of the Aesthetic is simply the "exposition" of these concepts. The Metaphysical Exposition reflects upon facts about our usage to reveal our commitment to the idea (...) that these concepts refer to pure intuitions. But the legitimacy of these concepts still hangs in the balance: these concepts may turn out to refer to nothing real at all. The subsequent Transcendental Exposition addresses this issue. The objective validity of the concepts of space and time, and hence their transcendental deduction, hinges on careful treatment of this last point. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as "a relic of a bygone age." This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘time symmetry’ of (...) fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: (1) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the time-reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and (2) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell’s writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation. (shrink)
The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
In the present paper, I offer a new argument to show that presentism about time is incompatible with time travel. Time travel requires leaving the present, which, under presentism, contains all of reality. Therefore to leave the present moment is to leave reality entirely; i.e. to go out of existence. Presentist “time travel” is therefore best seen as a form of suicide, not as a mode of transportation. Eternalists about time do not face the same difficulty, and time travel is (...) compossible with eternalism. (shrink)
This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance theory says (...) that objects persist through time by being wholly present at distinct times as numerically the same entity. Instead of endurantism, it has been argued, we have to adopt either ‘perdurantism’ or the ‘stage theory’. Perdurantism is the theory that objects are four-dimensional ‘space-time worms’ persisting through time by having distinct temporal parts at distinct times. The stage theory says that objects are instantaneous temporal parts (stages) of space-time worms, persisting by having distinct temporal counterparts at distinct times. In the thesis, it is argued that no good arguments have been provided for the conclusion that we are obliged to drop the endurance theory by acceptance of the B-theory. This conclusion stands even if the endurance theory incorporates the claim that objects endure through intrinsic change. It is also shown that perdurantism and the stage theory come with unwelcome consequences. -/- Paper I demonstrates that the main arguments for the view that objects cannot endure in B-time intrinsically unchanged fail. Papers II and III do the same with respect to the traditional arguments against endurance through intrinsic change in B-time. Paper III also contains a detailed account of the semantics of the tenseless copula, which occurs frequently in the debate. The contention of Paper IV is that four-dimensional space-time worms, as traditionally understood, are not suited to take dispositional predicates. In Paper V, it is shown that the stage theory needs to introduce an overabundance of persistence-concepts, many of which will have to be simultaneously applicable to a single object (qua falling under a single sortal), in order for the theory to be consistent. The final article, Paper VI, investigates the sense in which persistence can, as is sometimes suggested, be a ‘conventional matter’. It also asks whether alleged cases of ‘conventional persistence’ create trouble for the endurance theory. It is argued that conventions can only enter at a trivial semantic level, and that the endurance theory is no more threatened by such conventions than are its rivals. (shrink)
Argues that standard interpretations of Merleau-Ponty's criticisms of Sartrean freedom fail and presents an alternative interpretation that argues that the fundamental issue concerns their different theories of time.
Presenting the history of space-time physics, from Newton to Einstein, as a philosophical development DiSalle reflects our increasing understanding of the connections between ideas of space and time and our physical knowledge. He suggests that philosophy's greatest impact on physics has come about, less by the influence of philosophical hypotheses, than by the philosophical analysis of concepts of space, time, and motion and the roles they play in our assumptions about physical objects and physical measurements. This way of thinking leads (...) to new interpretations of the work of Newton and Einstein and the connections between them. It also offers new ways of looking at old questions about a priori knowledge, the physical interpretation of mathematics, and the nature of conceptual change. Understanding Space-Time will interest readers in philosophy, history and philosophy of science, and physics, as well as readers interested in the relations between physics and philosophy. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: For the most part, this paper is not a philosophical paper in any strict sense. Rather, it focuses on the numerous exegetical puzzles in Sextus Empiricus’ two main passages on time (M X.l69-247 and PH III.l36-50), which, once sorted, help to explain how Sextus works and what the views are which he examines. Thus the paper provides an improved base from which to put more specifically philosophical questions to the text. The paper has two main sections, which can, by (...) and large, be read independently. Each is about a topic which, to my knowledge, has so far not been treated in detail. The first section is concemed with the argument structures of the two main passages on time in Sextus, pointing out various irregularities in the overall argument in both passages, as well as parallels and differences, and asks the question what kinds of scepticism and sceptical methods We find in the various parts of each passage. The second section focuses on the doxographical accounts of time in the two passages: what they are, how they compare with surviving parallels, to what philosophers we can attribute those accounts for which Sextus himself provides either no, or more than one, possible ascriptions, and how Sextus treats the doxographical material. This discussion is inspired by the contributions Michael Frede offered on this topic the day before his untimely death. (shrink)
Among the most important questions in the metaphysics of science are "What are the natures of fundamental laws and chances?" and "What grounds the direction of time?" My aim in this paper is to examine some connections between these questions, discuss two approaches to answering them and argue in favor of one. Along the way I will raise and comment on a number of issues concerning the relationship between physics and metaphysics and consequences for the subject matter and methodology of (...) metaphysics. (shrink)
The question of the existence and the properties of time has been subject to debate for thousands of years. This considered and complete study offers a contrastive analysis of phenomenologies of time from the perspective of the problematics of the visibility of time. Is time perceptible only through the veil of change? Or is there a naked presence of "time itself"? Or has time always effaced itself? McClure's new work also stages confrontations between phenomenology of time and analytical philosophy of (...) time. By doing so he explores ancient issues from a fresh perspective, such as whether time passes, whether experimental time is "real time," and whether the very concept of time is contradictory. (shrink)
The eternalist endurantist and perdurantist theories of persistence through time come in various versions, namely the two versions of perdurantism: the worm view and the stage view , and the two versions of endurantism: indexicalism and adverbialism . Using as a starting point the instructive case of what is depicted by photographs, I will examine these four views, and compare them, with some interesting results. Notably, we will see that two traditional enemies—the perdurantist worm view and the endurantist theories—are (...) more like allies : they are much less different than what is usually thought, and some alleged points of central disagreement fall prey to closer scrutiny. The aim of this paper is to examine carefully all those points, and to call attention to the places where the real differences between these views lie. I will then turn to the perdurantist stage view, and claim that with respect to some central issues it is the view that is the most different from the other three, but that in some places the reason why it different is also the reason why it is less satisfactory. (shrink)
In Book IV, Chapter 11 of the Physics, Aristotle claims that ‘the before and after’ exists in time because it also exists in change, and it exists in change because it also exists in magnitude, and, further, that ‘time follows change’ and ‘change follows magnitude’.1 This is usually taken to mean that moments of time correspond to momentary stages of changes, and that momentary stages of changes correspond to points in magnitudes, so that time derives its ‘before and after’ from (...) that of change, and change from that of magnitude.2 But this is widely thought to land Aristotle in the following difﬁ culty: If Socrates walks between points A and C, for instance, he can either proceed from point A to point.. (shrink)
The theorist who denies the objective reality of non-relational temporal properties, or ‘A-series’ determinations, must explain our experience of the passage of time. D.H. Mellor, a prominent denier of the objective reality of temporal passage, draws, in part, on Kant in offering a theory according to which the experience of temporal passage is the result of the projection of change in belief. But Mellor has missed some important points Kant has to make about time-awareness. It turns out that Kant's theory (...) of time-awareness also involves projection – but for him, the projection of temporal passage is necessary to any coherent experience at all, and for this reason events in the world cannot be represented except as exhibiting real tensed change. Consequently we cannot intelligibly suppose the world we know to be without the passage of time. This fact would permit a modest transcendental argument the conclusion of which is that we are entitled to describe the world in terms of temporal passage. (shrink)
Abstract The article is a reading, in conjunction with one-another, of Time and Being and What is metaphysics. Its scope is that of raising questions on certain Heideggerian topics that are here formulated as thesis. Namely, first that the turn in Heidegger’s thinking is not a change in his process of thinking, but rather an essential trait of what Heidegger calls the matter at hand (Sachverhalt). Secondly, that this turn of the matter at hand is in itself memory in a (...) twofold way: as metaphysics in its relation to being and time, and as questioning of this metaphysical relation. And finally, that this turn is a technical one, in the sense of technique as this latter is, in Heidegger’s thinking, the original determination of Being as Anwesenheit. (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)
Time is the only book that offers a comprehensive history of the philosophy of time in western philosophy from the Greeks through the 20th century. Philip Turetzky explores theories in ancient and modern philosophy chronologically, from Aristotle to Nietzsche. He then describes the philosophy of time in three 20th century philosophical traditions: analytic philosophy, phenomenology and the distaff tradition. The book compares and contrasts the way these traditions treat time in regard to appearances, empiricism, existence, privileged ontological relations, and pragmatic (...) concerns. Time will be an intriguing and enlightening read for anyone who has wondered about the nature of time. (shrink)
How do ordinary objects persist through time and across possible worlds ? How do they manage to have their temporal and modal properties ? These are the questions adressed in this book which is a "guided tour of theories of persistence". The book is divided in two parts. In the first, the two traditional accounts of persistence through time (endurantism and perdurantism) are combined with presentism and eternalism to yield four different views, and their variants. The resulting views are then (...) examined in turn, in order to see which combinations are appealing and which are not. It is argued that the 'worm view' variant of eternalist perdurantism is superior to the other alternatives. In the second part of the book, the same strategy is applied to the combinations of views about persistence across possible worlds (trans-world identity, counterpart theory, modal perdurants) and views about the nature of worlds, mainly modal realism and abstractionism. Not only all the traditional and well-known views, but also some more original ones, are examined and their pros and cons are carefully weighted. Here again, it is argued that perdurance seems to be the best strategy available. (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)
In Being and Time Heidegger gives an account of the distinctive features of human existence, in an attempt to answer the question of the meaning of being. He finds that underlying all of these features is what he calls 'original time'. In this clear and straightforward introduction to the text, Paul Gorner takes the reader through the work, examining its detail and explaining the sometimes difficult language which Heidegger uses. The topics which he covers include being-in-the-world, being-with, thrownness and projection, (...) truth, authenticity, time and being, and historicity. His book makes Being and Time accessible to students in a way that conveys the essence of Heidegger's project and remains true to what is distinctive about his thinking. (shrink)
Michael Tooley presents a major new philosophical theory of the nature of time, offering a powerful alternative to the traditional "tensed" and recent "tenseless" accounts of time. He argues for a dynamic conception of the universe, in which past, present, and future are not merely subjective features of experience. He claims that the past and the present are real, while the future is not. Tooley's approach accounts for time in terms of causation. He therefore claims that the key to understanding (...) the dynamic nature of the universe is to understand the nature of causation. Time, Tense, and Causation is a landmark treatment of one of the oldest and most perplexing intellectual problems, and will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in the character of time. (shrink)
Introduction -- Fatalism, free will, and foreknowledge -- Mind, the metric, and conventionality -- Time travel and backward causation -- Time's origin, and relationism vs. substantivalism -- McTaggart, tensed facts, and time's flow -- Presentism, the block universe, and perduring objects -- The arrow of time -- Zeno's paradoxes and supertasks.
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)
The final work of a distinguished physicist, this remarkable volume examines the emotive significance of time, the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum physics. Coherent discussions include accounts of analytic methods of scientific philosophy in the investigation of probability, quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and causality. "[Reichenbach’s] best by a good deal."—Physics Today. 1971 ed.
Mind, it has recently been argued1, is a thoroughly temporal phenomenon: so temporal, indeed, as to defy description and analysis using the traditional computational tools of cognitive scientific understanding. The proper explanatory tools, so the suggestion goes, are instead the geometric constructs and differential equations of Dynamical Systems Theory. I consider various aspects of the putative temporal challenge to computational understanding, and show that the root problem turns on the presence of a certain kind of causal web: a web that (...) involves multiple components (both inner and outer) linked by chains of continuous and reciprocal causal influence. There is, however, no compelling route from such facts about causal and temporal complexity to the radical anti- computationalist conclusion. This is because, interactive complexities notwithstanding, the computational approach provides a kind of explanatory understanding that cannot (I suggest) be recreated using the alternative resources of pure Dynamical Systems Theory. In particular, it provides a means of mapping information flow onto causal structure -- a mapping that is crucial to understanding the distinctive kinds of flexibility and control characteristic of truly mindful engagements with the world. Where we confront especially complex interactive causal webs, however, it does indeed become harder to isolate the syntactic vehicles required by the computational approach. Dynamical Systems Theory, I conclude, may play a vital role in recovering such vehicles from the burgeoning mass of real-time interactive complexity. (shrink)