Rethinking the Specious Present

In Ian Phillips (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience. London, UK: pp. 146-156 (2017)
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In this chapter I argue that despite its current popularity the doctrine of the specious present, or at least every current version of it, should be rejected. I describe two alternative accounts, which deal with experiences of two different kinds of change. The first is what I call the dynamic snapshot theory, which accounts for the way we experience continuous changes such as motion and other motion-like phenomena. The second account deals with the way we experience discontinuous changes, those for which there is no finite rate of change. However I then argue that much of the current debate implicitly presupposes a problematic Cartesian view about the nature of conscious experience. If this view is rejected – as I think it should be – then a different kind of account emerges that avoids commitment both to the specious present and to its main current rival, the cinematic view.
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