What Experience Cannot Teach Us About Time

Topoi 34 (1):143-155 (2015)
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Does the A-theory have an intuitive advantage over the B-theory? Many A-theorists have claimed so, arguing that their theory has a much better explanation for the fact that we all experience the passage of time: we experience time as passing because time really does pass. In this paper I expose and reject the argument behind the A-theorist’s claim. I argue that all parties have conceded far too easily that there is an experience that needs explaining in the first place. For what exactly is an experience of temporal passage? One natural thought is that we experience passage in virtue of experiencing change, or in virtue of experiencing change as ‘dynamic’. Another is that we experience passage in virtue of experiencing events as (successively) present. None of these experiences, I argue, amounts to an experience of passage. Although there might still be other ways to experience passage, A-theorists would have to provide us with a plausible candidate experience. If there is such an experience at all, it won’t be one that qualifies as what we intuitively take to be an experience of passage. The ‘intuitive advantage’, it seems, has dissolved in any case



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Akiko Frischhut
Sophia University

References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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