Perceiving Direction in Directionless Time

In Kasia M. Jaszczolt (ed.), Understanding Human Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-219 (2023)
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Modern physics has provided a range of motivations for holding time to be fundamentally undirected. But how does a temporally adirectional metaphysics, or ‘C-theory’ of time, fit with the time of experience? In this chapter, I look at what kind of problem human time poses for C-theories. First, I ask whether there is a ‘hard problem’ of human time: whether it is in principle impossible to have the kinds of experience we do in a temporally adirectional world. Second I consider the ‘easy problem’: how specific directed aspects of our temporal experience are to be explained by C-theorists. This leads to a greater issue: is there such a thing as an experience of time direction at all to even be explained? I show how the kinds of experience we have that we typically associate with the idea of time being directed can be accommodated within a directionless picture of time.

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Matt Farr
Cambridge University


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