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Heather Dyke (LSE): “Experience of Passage in a Static World” (BSPS Lecture)

12 June, 5:15 pm6:45 pm

Abstract: The view that experience seems to tell us directly that time flows has long been accepted by both A-theorists and B-theorists in the philosophy of time. A-theorists take it as a powerful endorsement of their position, sometimes using it explicitly in an argument for their view, and other times more implicitly, as a kind of non-negotiable, experiential given. B-theorists have tended to accept that we have this experience, and have sought alternative explanations for it, consistent with the B-theory. The so-called argument from temporal experience has received a lot of attention in recent years, and B-theory responses to it have begun to coalesce around two distinct positions. Illusionists adopt the traditional B-theoretic response of accepting that we do seem to experience temporal passage, and offering a B-theoretic explanation of it, thereby arguing that the experience is illusory. Veridicalists, on the face of it, take a more radical stance. They deny that we seem to experience temporal passage at all. I argue that there is something right in each of these responses, and by combining these features, we may be able to forge a third alternative, namely, that our temporal phenomenology is exactly what we should expect if the B-theory is true, and given our physical and psychological makeup. I discuss some results from psychology and cognitive science to support my view. In particular, I develop an explanation for the phenomenon that we sometimes seem to experience time speeding up or slowing down, a feature of temporal experience which has been largely neglected in the philosophical literature.

Heather Dyke is a Fellow in Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method at the London School of Economics.


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
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