One Thing After Another: Why the Passage of Time Is Not an Illusion
Does time seem to pass, even though it doesn’t, really? Many philosophers think the answer is ‘Yes’—at least when ‘time’s (really) passing’ is understood in a particular way. They take time’s passing to be a process by which each time in turn acquires a special status, such as the status of being the only time that exists, or being the only time that is present (where that means more than just being simultaneous with oneself). This chapter suggests that, on the contrary, all we perceive is temporal succession, one thing after another, a notion to which modern physics is not inhospitable. The contents of perception are best described in terms of ‘before’ and ‘after’, rather than ‘past’, ‘present, and ‘future’.
This chapter was partly written while I was supported by the Yonsei University Future-Leading Research Initiative 2018 (2018-22-0100).
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