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Some Cosmological Implications of Temporal Experience

  • Barry DaintonEmail author
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 285)

Abstract

The claim that we directly apprehend change and succession in our ordinary experience is phenomenologically plausible – after all, we certainly seem to, at least over short intervals. However, there are those who hold that any attempt to grant consciousness temporal breadth falls into incoherence. I argue here that this is wrong, and defend the “extensional” conception of temporal experience over its “retentional” rival. I then argue that this means that reality itself must be dynamic, simply because experience is dynamic, and experience is part of reality. The precise extent to which the dynamism we find in our experience impacts on the rest of the universe depends on the (much contested) relationship between consciousness and the rest of the universe; on some views it will be trivial, on others immense. Of the different metaphysical accounts of the nature of time currently on offer, Presentism is (arguably) the most dynamic. However, Presentism – at least in its standard guise – looks to be irreconcilable with the extensional account of temporal experience. The way forward, I suggest, is to adopt a modified form of Presentism. I conclude by examining the implications of this view of experience for the claim that we might very probably be short-lived “Boltzmann Brains”.

Keywords

Block universe Presentism Temporal experience Motion perception Specious present Extensional model Retentional model Extensional presentism Synchronic and diachronic co-consciousness Transitivity Boltzmann brains 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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