On the temporal character of temporal experience, its scale non-invariance, and its small scale structure

(2016)
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Abstract

The nature of temporal experience is typically explained in one of a small number of ways, most are versions of either retentionalism or extensionalism. After describing these, I make a distinction between two kinds of temporal character that could structure temporal experience: A-ish contents are those that present events as structured in past/present/future terms, and B-ish contents are those that present events as structured in earlier-than/later-than/simultaneous-with relations. There are a few exceptions, but most of the literature ignores this distinction, and silently assumes temporal experience is A-ish. I then argue that temporal character is not scale invariant, but rather that temporal experience is A-ish at larger scales, and B-ish at smaller scales. I then point out that this scale non-invariance opens the possibility of hybrid views. I clarify my own view as a hybrid view, according to which temporal experience is B-ish at small scales – and at this scale my trajectory estimation model applies – but A-ish at larger scales, and at the larger scale my TEM does not apply. I then motivate this hybrid position by first defending it against arguments that have tried to show that the TEM is untenable. Since the hybrid view has TEM as its small-scale component, it must address this objection. I then put pressure on the main alternative account, extentionalism, by showing that its proponents have not adequately dealt with the problem of temporal illusions. The result is a new theory motivated by i) explaining its virtues, ii) showing that objections to it can be met, and iii) showing that objections to its main competitors have not been met.

Author's Profile

Rick Grush
University of California, San Diego

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