The fragmentary model of temporal experience and the mirroring constraint

Philosophical Studies 176 (1):21-44 (2019)
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A central debate in the current philosophical literature on temporal experience is over the following question: do temporal experiences themselves have a temporal structure that mirrors their temporal contents? Extensionalists argue that experiences do have a temporal structure that mirrors their temporal contents. Atomists insist that experiences don’t have a temporal structure that mirrors their contents. In this paper, I argue that this debate is misguided. Both atomism and extensionalism, considered as general theories of temporal experience, are false, since temporal experience is not a single undifferentiated phenomena as both theories require. I argue for this conclusion in two steps. First, I show that introspection cannot settle the debate. Second, I argue that the neuroscientific evidence is best read as revealing a host of mechanisms involved in temporal perception - some admitting of an extensionalist interpretation while others admitting only of an atomistic interpretation. As a result, neither side of the debate wins.

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Author's Profile

Gerardo Viera
University of Sheffield

References found in this work

Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 1785 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Knowledge and the flow of information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.

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