Distrusting the present

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (3):315-335 (2016)
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Abstract

We use the hierarchical nature of Bayesian perceptual inference to explain a fundamental aspect of the temporality of experience, namely the phenomenology of temporal flow. The explanation says that the sense of temporal flow in conscious perception stems from probabilistic inference that the present cannot be trusted. The account begins by describing hierarchical inference under the notion of prediction error minimization, and exemplifies distrust of the present within bistable visual perception and action initiation. Distrust of the present is then discussed in relation to previous research on temporal phenomenology. Finally, we discuss how there may be individual differences in the experience of temporal flow, in particular along the autism spectrum. The resulting view is that the sense of temporal flow in conscious perception results from an internal, inferential process.

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Jakob Hohwy
Monash University

References found in this work

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
The Predictive Mind.Jakob Hohwy - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
The Self‐Evidencing Brain.Jakob Hohwy - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):259-285.

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