European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):94-117 (2013)

Authors
Sean Enda Power
University College, Cork
Abstract
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.
Keywords naive theories of perception  time-lag  direct perception
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Reprint years 2013
DOI 10.1111/ejop.2013.21.issue-1
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References found in this work BETA

Sense and Sensibilia.J. L. AUSTIN - 1962 - Oxford University Press.
Seeing And Knowing.Fred Dretske - 1969 - Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Experience and Perception of Time.Robin Le Poidevin - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Naïve Realism, Seeing Stars, and Perceiving the Past.Alex Moran - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):202-232.
Eternalism and Perspectival Realism About the ‘Now’.Matias Slavov - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1398-1410.

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