Broad’s Accounts of Temporal Experience

Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 1 (5) (2012)
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Two extremely detailed accounts of temporal experience can be found in the work of C. D. Broad. These accounts have been subject to considerable criticism. I argue that, when we look more carefully at Broad’s work, we find that much of this criticism fails to find its target. I show that the objection that ultimately proves troubling for Broad stems from his commitment to two principles: i) the Thin-PSA, and ii) the ‘Overlap’ claim. I use this result to demonstrate that we can learn two extremely important lessons from Broad’s work on temporal experience. The first lesson is that there is a structural problem facing any account that commits to these two principles. This is significant given that a number of recent accounts of temporal experience are so committed. The second lesson is that the problem facing these accounts stems only from commitment to the Thin-PSA and ‘Overlap’, rather than to commitment to a particular conception of how experiences are to be individuated. This, I argue, gives us reason to reject Tye’s recent claim that the problems facing accounts of temporal experience can be dissolved simply by making stipulations about how experiences are to be individuated.



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Oliver Rashbrook
Oxford University

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