The Sense of Time

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):443-469 (2020)
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It’s often claimed in the philosophical and scientific literature on temporal representation that there is no such thing as a genuine sensory system for time. In this paper, I argue for the opposite—many animals, including all mammals, possess a genuine sensory system for time based in the circadian system. In arguing for this conclusion, I develop a semantics and meta-semantics for explaining how the endogenous rhythms of the circadian system provide organisms with a direct information link to the temporal structure of their environment. In doing so, I highlight the role of sensory systems in an information processing architecture.

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Gerardo Viera
University of Sheffield


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