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Our Experience of Tense

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Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI,volume 293)

Abstract

Wholly apart from its manifestation in human language, the reality of tense is experienced by us in a variety of ways which are so evident and so pervasive that the belief in the objective reality of past, present, and future and in the passage of time is a universal feature of human experience. Phenomenological analyses of temporal consciousness carried out by philosophers have emphasized the centrality of A-determinations to our experience of time. In his classic phenomenology of time consciousness, Edmund Husserl described our experience of time in terms of retentions of the past and protentions of the future, both anchored in the “now.” We experience on the one hand a sort of “flowing away” (Ablaufsphänomene) consisting of the recession of experience from the “now” into the past: “...this now apprehension is, as it were, the nucleus of a comet’s tail of retentions referring to the earlier now-points of the motion.”1 But we also protend the future in that we anticipate and live toward that which is to come. The transformation of now-consciousness to consciousness of the past and its replacement by a new now-consciousness, says Husserl, “is part of the essence of time consciousness.”2 Thus, our differing attitudes toward the past and future, as well as our apprehension of temporal becoming are constitutive of time consciousness: ”The immanent contents are what they are only so far as during their ‘actual’ duration they refer ahead to something futural and back to something past.... In each primal phase which primordially constitutes the immanent content we have retentions of the preceding and protentions of the coming phases of precisely this content....” 3

Keywords

  • Basic Belief
  • Tensed Fact
  • Phenomenal Property
  • Proper Basicality
  • Tensed Sentence

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Craig, W.L. (2000). Our Experience of Tense. In: The Tensed Theory of Time. Synthese Library, vol 293. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-9345-8_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-9345-8_5

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