Our engagement with time is a ubiquitous feature of our lives. We are aware of time on many scales, from the briefest flicker of change to the way our lives unfold over many years. But to what extent does this encounter reveal the true nature of temporal reality? To the extent that temporal reality is as it seems, how do we come to be aware of it? And to the extent that temporal reality is not as it seems, why does (...) it seem that way? These are the central questions addressed by Simon Prosser in Experiencing Time. He defends the B-theory of time, according to which the apparently dynamic quality of change, the special status of the present, and even the passage of time are all illusions. Prosser goes on to explore solutions to certain puzzles raised by experiences of temporal features such as changes, rates, and durations, and in doing so sheds light on broader issues in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
According to the B-theory, the passage of time is an illusion. The B-theory therefore requires an explanation of this illusion before it can be regarded as fullysatisfactory; yet very few B-theorists have taken up the challenge of trying to provide one. In this paper I take some first steps toward such an explanation by first making a methodological proposal, then a hypothesis about a key element in the phenomenology of temporal passage. The methodological proposal focuses onthe representational content of the (...) element of experience by virtue of which time seems to pass. The hypothesis involves the claim that the experience of changeinvolves the representation of something enduring, rather than perduring, through any change. (shrink)
What is it for two people to think of an object, natural kind or other entity under the same mode of presentation (MOP)? This has seemed a particularly difficult question for advocates of the Mental Files approach, the Language of Thought, or other ‘atomistic’ theories. In this paper I propose a simple answer. I first argue that, by parallel with the synchronic intrapersonal case, the sharing of a MOP should involve a certain kind of epistemic transparency between the token thoughts (...) of the two thinkers. I then explain how shared words help bring about this transparency. Finally, I show how this account can be extended for thoughts expressed using demonstratives or indexicals. (shrink)
In this collection of newly commissioned essays, the contributors present a variety of approaches to it, engaging with historical and empirical aspects of the subject as well as contemporary philosophical work.
Despite recent challenges, it is commonly held that certain indexical terms such as ‘I', ‘here’ and ‘now’ have a necessary or ‘essential’ role in certain kinds of action. I argue that this is correct, and I offer an explanation. A use of an indexical term of the kind in question connotes a specific relation between the thinking subject and the reference of the indexical. The mental representation of this relation has an epistemic feature that I call first-person redundancy. I show (...) through a regress argument that a mental state of this kind is essential for common kinds of action, and perhaps for all actions. (shrink)
The nature of experience has been held to be a major reason for accepting the A-theory of time. I argue, however, that experience does not favour the A-theory over the B-theory; and that even if the A-theory were true it would not be possible to perceive the passage of time. The main argument for this draws on the constraint that a satisfactory theory of perception must explain why phenomenal characters map uniquely onto perceived worldly features. Thus, if passage is perceived, (...) it must be explained what makes one phenomenal character rather than another a perception of passage; and it must also be explained why that phenomenal character is a perception of passage rather than of some other feature of the world. I argue that no such explanation can be given, and consequently that passage cannot be perceived. I conclude that the A-theory is rendered unintelligible, and should therefore be rejected. (shrink)
Saying ┌ that ψ is F ┐ when one should have said ┌ that φ is F ┐ involves making one of two different kinds of error. Either the wrong nominal term (┌ ψ ┐ instead of ┌ φ ┐) is ascribed to the right object or the right nominal term is ascribed to the wrong object. Judgments susceptible to one kind of error are immune to the other. Indexical terms such as ‘here’ and ‘now’ exhibit a corresponding pattern of (...) immunity and susceptibility to error, which suggests that they are complex demonstratives. This should also apply to ‘I’. (shrink)
This is an expanded and revised discussion of the argument briefly put forward in my 'A New Problem for the A-Theory of Time', where it is claimed that it is impossible to experience real temporal passage and that no such phenomenon exists. In the first half of the paper the premises of the argument are discussed in more detail than before. In the second half responses are given to several possible objections, none of which were addressed in the earlier paper. (...) There is also some discussion of some related epistemic arguments against the passage of time given by Huw Price and David Braddon-Mitchell along with objections raised against them recently by Tim Maudlin and Peter Forrest respectively. (shrink)
Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of a conscious experience is wholly determined by, or even reducible to, its representational content. In this essay I put forward a version of intentionalism that allows (though does not require) the reduction of phenomenal character to representational content. Unlike other reductionist theories, however, it does not require the acceptance of phenomenal externalism (the view that phenomenal character does not supervene on the internal state of the subject). According the view offered here, (...) phenomenal characters essentially represent subject-environment relations that are relevant to the possibilities for causal interaction between the subject and the environment; relations of the kind that J. J. Gibson dubbed affordances. I argue for this view chiefly through an examination of spatial perception, though other cases are also considered. The view assumes that a phenomenal character has an essential functional role; though it need not be assumed that a functional role is sufficient for a phenomenal character. (shrink)
This chapter discusses the notion that time passes, along with two major families of objections to this notion. The first kind of objection concerns the rate at which time passes; it has often been suggested that no coherent rate can be given. The alleged problems for the standard view, that time passes at one second per second, are discussed. A positive suggestion is then made for a way of making sense of the claim that time passes at one second per (...) second, based on the notion of ‘stretching’ properties such as ‘being future’ across a time series made up of events. The second family of objections concerns the experience of time passing. Two arguments are discussed, one of which concerns epistemological issues while the other concerns the intentionality of experience. Overall the arguments from experience weigh against the passage of time. (shrink)
This paper is a contribution to a book symposium on my book Experiencing Time. I reply to comments on the book by Natalja Deng, Geoffrey Lee and Bradford Skow. Although several chapters of the book are discussed, the main focus of my reply is on Chapters 2 and 6. In Chapter 2 I argue that the putative mind-independent passage of time could not be experienced, and from this I develop an argument against the A-theory of time. In Chapter 6 I (...) offer one part of an explanation of why we are disposed to think that time passes, relating to the supposedly ‘dynamic’ quality of experienced change. Deng, Lee, and Skow’s comments help me to clarify several issues, add some new thoughts, and make a new distinction that was needed, and I acknowledge, as I did in the book, that certain arguments in Chapter 6 are not conclusive; but I otherwise concede very little regarding the main claims and arguments defended in the book. (shrink)
This article proposes a formal model that integrates cognitive and psychodynamic psychotherapeutic models of psychopathy to show how two major psychopathic traits called lacks remorse and self-aggrandizing can be understood as a form of abnormal Bayesian inference about the self. This model draws on the predictive coding (i.e., active inference) framework, a neurobiologically plausible explanatory framework for message passing in the brain that is formalized in terms of hierarchical Bayesian inference. In summary, this model proposes that these two cardinal psychopathic (...) traits reflect entrenched maladaptive Bayesian inferences about the self, which defend against the experience of deep-seated, self-related negative emotions, specifically shame and worthlessness. Support for the model in extant research on the neurobiology of psychopathy and quantitative simulations are provided. Finally, we offer a preliminary overview of a novel treatment for psychopathy that rests on our Bayesian formulation. (shrink)
Frege held that indexical thoughts could be retained through changes of context that required a change of indexical term. I argue that Frege was partially right in that a singular mode of presentation can be retained through changes of indexical. There must, however, be a further mode of presentation that changes when the indexical term changes. This suggests that indexicals should be regarded as complex demonstratives; a change of indexical term is like a change between 'that φ' and 'that ψ', (...) where 'φ' and 'ψ' pick out relational properties that may nonetheless be conceived of by the thinker as intrinsic. (shrink)
: I offer a new approach to the increasingly convoluted debate between the A- and B-theories of time, the ‘tensed’ and ‘tenseless’ theories. It is often assumed that the B-theory faces more difficulties than the A-theory in explaining the apparently tensed features of temporal experience. I argue that the A-theory cannot explain these features at all, because on any physicalist or supervenience theory of the mind, in which the nature of experience is fixed by the physical state of the world, (...) the tensed properties of time posited by the A-theory could play no role in shaping temporal experience. It follows that the A-theory is false; even a priori arguments for it fail, because they still require the tensed vocabulary which is used to describe temporal experience. (shrink)
John Perry has argued that language, thought and experience often contain unarticulated constituents. I argue that this idea holds the key to explaining away the intuitive appeal of the A-theory of time and the endurance theory of persistence. The A-theory has seemed intuitively appealing because the nature of temporal experience makes it natural for us to use one-place predicates like past to deal with what are really two-place relations, one of whose constituents is unarticulated. The endurance view can be treated (...) in a similar way; the temporal boundaries of temporal parts of objects are unarticulated in experience and this makes it seem that the very same entity exists at different times. (shrink)
Many philosophers accept a ‘layered’ world‐view according to which the facts about the higher ontological levels supervene on the facts about the lower levels. Advocates of such views often have in mind a version of atomism, according to which there is a fundamental level of indivisible objects known as simples or atoms upon whose spatiotemporal locations and intrinsic properties everything at the higher levels supervenes.1 Some, however, accept the possibility of ‘gunk’ worlds in which there are parts ‘all the way (...) down’ such that there are no simples and insofar as composite objects exist these are composed of smaller objects which in turn are composed of smaller objects, and so on. It may nonetheless still be claimed that the facts about each ontological level supervene on the facts about the lower levels. (shrink)
There is much to be said for a diachronic or interpersonal individuation of singular modes of presentation (MOPs) in terms of a criterion of epistemic transparency between thought tokens. This way of individuating MOPs has been discussed recently within the mental files framework, though the issues discussed here arise for all theories that individuate MOPs in terms of relations among tokens. All such theories face objections concerning apparent failures of the transitivity of the ‘same MOP’ relation. For mental files, these (...) transitivity failures most obviously occur because mental files can merge or undergo fission. In this paper I argue that this problem is easily resolved once mental files are properly construed as continuants, whose metaphysics is analogous to that of persons or physical objects. All continuants can undergo fission or fusion, leading to similar transitivity problems, but there are well-established theories of persistence that accommodate this. I suggest that, in particular, the stage theory best suits the purposes of a continuant theory of MOPs. (shrink)
A novel way of making a non-stick frying pan using a topologically open surface is described. While the article has a slight humorous element to it, it is also intended to contain some serious philosophical points concerning the nature of infinitely divisible matter and the kind of contact that must occur between objects in order for them to interact.
Downward causation is commonly held to create problems for ontologically emergent properties. In this paper I describe two novel examples of ontologically emergent properties and show how they avoid two main problems of downward causation, the causal exclusion problem and the causal closure problem. One example involves an object whose colour does not logically supervene on the colours of its atomic parts. The other example is inspired by quantum entanglement cases but avoids controversies regarding quantum mechanics. These examples show that (...) the causal exclusion problem can be avoided, in one case by showing how it is possible to interact with an object without interacting with its atomic parts. I accept that emergence cannot be reconciled with causal closure, but argue that violations of causal closure do not entail violations of the base-level laws. Only the latter would conflict with empirical science. (shrink)
We report on an experiment in which subjects choose actions in strategic games with either strategic complements or substitutes against a granny, a game theorist or other subjects. The games are selected in order to test predictions on the comparative statics of equilibrium with respect to changes in strategic ambiguity. We find that subjects face higher ambiguity while playing against the granny than playing against the game theorist if we assume that subjects are ambiguity averse. Moreover, under the same assumption, (...) subjects choose more secure actions in games more prone to ambiguity which is in line with the predictions. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a representationalist theory of conscious experience based on Robert Stalnaker's version of two-dimensional modal semantics. According to this theory the phenomenal character of an experience correlates with a content equivalent to what Stalnaker calls the diagonal proposition. I show that the theory is closely related both to functionalist theories of consciousness and to higher-order representational theories. It is also more compatible with an anti-Cartesian view of the mind than standard representationalist theories.
In this chapter I argue that there can be no mental representation of objective ‘tensed’ features of reality of the kind that might be thought to occur when we experience time passing or think of times as past, present or future, whether or not such features are part of mind-independent reality. This, I hold, has important consequences for metaphysics; but (as will be most relevant to this volume) it is also likely to have important consequences for a correct semantics for (...) tense. In a nutshell, no correct semantics for tense can treat what philosophers call ‘A-properties’ (such as real pastness, presentness or futurity) as semantic values. (shrink)
If the rhetorical and economic investment of educators, policy makersand the popular press in the United States is any indication, thenunbridled enthusiasm for the introduction of computer mediatedcommunication (CMC) into the educational process is wide-spread.In large part this enthusiasm is rooted in the hope that throughthe use of Internet-based CMC we may create an expanded communityof learners and educators not principally bounded by physicalgeography. The purpose of this paper is to reflect critically uponwhether students and teachers are truly linked together (...) as a``community'' through the use of Internet-based CMC. The paper usesthe writings of Kierkegaard, and Hubert Dreyfus's exploration ofKierkegaardian ideas, to look more closely at the prospects andproblems embedded in the use of Internet-based CMC to create ``distributed communities'' of teachers and learners. It is arguedthat from Kierkegaard's perspective, technologically mediatedcommunications run a serious risk of attenuating interpersonalconnectivity. Insofar as interpersonal connectivity is an integralcomponent of education, such attenuation bodes ill for some, andperhaps many instances of Internet-based CMC. (shrink)
Ellsberg's (1961) famous paradox shows that decision-makers give events with âknownâ probabilities a higher weight in their outcome evaluation. In the same article, Ellsberg suggests a preference representation which has intuitive appeal but lacks an axiomatic foundation. Schmeidler (1989) and Gilboa (1987) provide an axiomatisation for expected utility with non-additive probabilities. This paper introduces E-capacities as a representation of beliefs which incorporates objective information about the probability of events. It can be shown that the Choquet integral of an E-capacity is (...) the Ellsberg representation. The paper further explores properties of this representation of beliefs and provides an axiomatisation for them. (shrink)
Levinas distances himself from Kierkegaardian analyses by suggesting that It is not I who resist the system, as Kierkegaard thought; it is the other. This seems an obvious misreading of Kierkegaard. Resistance, for Kierkegaard, never legitimately arises from the I, but from a God-relationship that breaks through the sphere of immanence and disturbs the system. But, for Levinas it is problematic to suggest a God-relationship distinct from interhuman relationships. Transcendent interhuman relations, Levinas contends, give theological concepts [their] sole signification. Yet, (...) similarities in their accounts of ethical subjectivity and conscience may tempt one to suggest, as a recent commentator does, that appropriation of the Kierkegaardian framework by Levinas is problematic insofar as it is misapplied to interhuman relationships... .; I resist this understanding of the problem. Levinas is not only concerned with denying the interlocutor (i.e., God) in Kierkegaard's description of the transcendent awareness that grounds conscience. Levinas also questions the nature of interlocution implied by Kierkegaard. Levinas' criticisms of Kierkegaard set an important agenda for the study of Kierkegaard by demanding that one address the difficulties that the problematics of hearing raise for Kierkegaard's account of conscientious subjectivity. His challenge could profoundly affect and, in my opinion, enrich the Kierkegaardian account. (shrink)
Aristotle's thesis in "Physics" I 8 is that a certain old and familiar problem about coming to be can only be solved with the help of the new account of the "principles" he has developed in "Physics" I 7. This is a strong thesis and the literature on the chapter does not quite do it justice; specifically, as things now stand we are left wondering why Aristotle should have found this problem so compelling in the first place. In this paper (...) I develop an interpretation which (I hope) will help to remedy this. I believe that Aristotle's problem about coming to be depends on a certain principle to the effect that "nothing can become what it already is" (it is this that is supposed to explain why τὸ ὄν cannot come to be ἐξ ὄντος -- cf. 191a30). The main innovation of the interpretation developed here is its suggestion that we understand this principle as a principle about kinds. So understood, the principle does not make the comparatively trivial point that nothing can become any individual it already is, but rather the more powerful and substantive point that nothing can become any kind of thing it already is. I argue that this is a point which Aristotle himself accepts and that this is why the problem about coming to be raises serious difficulties for him. I also discuss Aristotle's proposed solutions to this problem, explaining how each draws on his new account of the principles and why each is required for any full resolution of the difficulties the problem raises. In this way I hope to show how the interpretation developed here does justice to the very strong thesis with which Aristotle begins "Physics" I 8. I conclude briefly and somewhat speculatively with a suggestion as to why Aristotle might accept the principle on which I have suggested the problem turns. (shrink)
Aristotle's thesis in Physics I 8 is that a certain old and familiar problem about coming to be can only be solved with the help of the new account of the "principles" he has developed in Physics I 7. This is a strong thesis and the literature on the chapter does not quite do it justice; specifically, as things now stand we are left wondering why Aristotle should have found this problem so compelling in the first place. In this paper (...) I develop an interpretation which will help to remedy this.I believe that Aristotle's problem about coming to be depends on a certain principle to the effect that "nothing can become what it already is" . The main innovation of the interpretation developed here is its suggestion that we understand this principle as a principle about kinds. So understood, the principle does not make the comparatively trivial point that nothing can become any individual it already is, but rather the more powerful and substantive point that nothing can become any kind of thing it already is. I argue that this is a point which Aristotle himself accepts and that this is why the problem about coming to be raises serious difficulties for him. I also discuss Aristotle's proposed solutions to this problem, explaining how each draws on his new account of the principles and why each is required for any full resolution of the difficulties the problem raises. In this way I hope to show how the interpretation developed here does justice to the very strong thesis with which Aristotle begins Physics I 8. I conclude brie fly and somewhat speculatively with a suggestion as to why Aristotle might accept the principle on which I have suggested the problem turns. (shrink)
Aristotle introduces Physics I as an inquiry into principles; in this paper I ask where he argues for the position he reaches in I 7. Many hold that his definitive argument is found in the first half of I 7 itself; I argue that this view is mistaken: the considerations raised there do not form the basis of any self-standing argument for Aristotle's doctrine of principles, but rather play a subordinate role in a larger argument begun in earnest in I (...) 5. This larger argument stalls in I 6, which ends in aporta; I argue that the problem lies in the fact that Aristotle's reasoning in I 6 thoroughly undermines his reasoning in I 5 (on which I 6 is ostensibly supposed to build). I further argue that the materials necessary for resolving this problem, and thereby allowing the argument begun in I 5 to reach its proper conclusion, are supplied by the thesis that organizes the first half of I 7. Along the way I offer some remarks about Aristotle's doctrine of principles, arguing that it is about the principles of natural substance (as opposed to coming to be or change). I also offer some remarks about the thesis which organizes the first half of I 7.1 argue negatively that it is not anything like a preliminary statement of Aristotle's doctrine of principles. I argue positively that it reflects Aristotle's idea that there are two distinct kinds of effect change has upon things (one constructive, the other destructive). One of these effects lies behind Aristotle's reasoning in I 5, the other comes to the fore in 16; the achievement of the first half of I 7 is to reconcile these seemingly competing conceptions by finding a place for them both in a unified account of coming to be and its subjects. (shrink)
This paper concerns an argument for natural teleology that is often taken to rest on an analogy between nature and art; I present an alternative reading. This reading can be found in some older commentaries; I hope to add to their discussions by making the case explicitly, as well as by clarifying some points of detail.
_ Source: _Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 209 - 210 Aristotle says that it is in the nature of color to impart movement to transparent media. Typically this is interpreted as implying that these media must be transparent before color moves them. I argue that this is a mistake.
Humans often behave more prosocially when being observed in person and even in response to subtle eye cues, purportedly to manage their reputation. Previous research on this phenomenon has employed the “watching eyes paradigm,” in which adults displayed greater prosocial behavior in the presence of images of eyes versus inanimate objects. However, the robustness of the effect of eyes on prosocial behavior has recently been called into question. Therefore, the first goal of the present study was to attempt to replicate (...) this effect. Additionally, it remains unclear whether the watching-eyes effect is driven specifically by reputation management or whether any cues indexing human presence more generally also have a similar effect. To address these questions, the current study compared prosocial behavior in the presence of eyes versus inanimate objects as well as other human features. The study was conducted as a field experiment at a children’s museum. Each week, the donation signs were changed to show eyes, noses, mouths, or chairs. Total donation amount and number of patrons per week were recorded. Participants donated more when they were exposed to eyes than to inanimate objects. We thus replicated the previously reported watching-eyes effect. Moreover, more money was donated when individuals were exposed to eyes than to more general cues of human presence. The current findings suggest that eyes play a special role in promoting cooperation in humans, likely by serving as cues of monitoring and thus eliciting reputation management behavior. (shrink)