The Causal Attainment Theory of Temporal Passage

Sorites 10:60-73 (1999)
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Some philosophers contend that the notion of temporal passage is illusory. But if the flow of time is an illusion, what gives rise to the notion that an event is in the future and then becomes present? In this paper, I hypothesize that there is a relation between the degree to which the conditions necessary for an event to occur have been met and the perception that a future event is “distant” or “near” in time. An event is perceived to be “distant” when few or none of the conditions necessary to cause the event have been met. As the conditions necessary to cause the event are attained, the event is perceived to be “near” or “about to happen.” This hypothesis would explain the perception that an event “moves” from the future to the present, but it would not explain why an event that has occurred seems to move from the near past into the distant past.

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