Time and experience

In Philosophie der Zeit: Neue analytische Ansätze. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann. pp. 27-44 (2007)

Rick Grush
University of California, San Diego
Nothing is more obvious than the fact that we are able to experience events in the world such a ball deflecting from the cross-bar of a goal. But what is the temporal relation between these two things, the event, and our experience of the event? One possibility is that the world progresses temporally through a sequence of instantaneous states – the striker’s foot in contact with the ball, then the ball between the striker and the goal, then the ball in contact with the cross-bar, and so forth –, while the perceiver’s experience is likewise a sequence of experience states, each one of which corresponds to, or is experience of, a corresponding state of the world – for example, a perception of the foot in contact with the ball, followed by a perception of the ball in the air, following by a perception of the ball in contact with the cross-bar. This way of understanding the relationship between experience and the world is very natural, and nearly universal. However, it rests on two assumptions that can be brought into question.
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