Against discontinuism: Mental time travel and our knowledge of past and future events

In Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein & Karl K. Szpunar (eds.), Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel. Oxford University Press. pp. 62-92 (2016)
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Continuists maintain that, aside from their distinct temporal orientations, episodic memory and future-oriented mental time travel (FMTT) are qualitatively continuous. Discontinuists deny this, arguing that, in addition to their distinct temporal orientations, there are qualitative metaphysical or epistemological differences between episodic memory and FMTT. This chapter defends continuism by responding both to arguments for metaphysical discontinuism, based on alleged discontinuities between episodic memory and FMTT at the causal, intentional, and phenomenological levels, and to arguments for epistemological discontinuism, based on alleged discontinuities with respect to the epistemic openness of the past and future, the directness or indirectness of our knowledge of past and future, and immunity to error through misidentification. The chapter concludes by sketching a positive argument for continuism.

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Kourken Michaelian
Université Grenoble Alpes


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