【関連イベント】The 58th meeting of Tokyo Colloquium of Cognitive Philosophy終了しました
Department of History and Philosophy of Science will hold the 58th Tokyo Colloquium of Cognitive Philosophy. Everyone is welcome.
Date & Time: October 23rd (Fri), 2015, 17:00-19:00
Venue: the 14th Building, Room 710 on the 7th floor, Komaba Campus
Presenter: Akiko Frischhut (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Title: A Phenomenal Constraint on Experiencing the Passage of Time
That time passes appears to be given to us through experience. If the experience of temporal passage is really as ubiquitous as often claimed, then surely the best explanation for our experience is that time really passes. This ‘Argument from Experience’ (AfE) supposedly gives adherents of temporal passage an intuitive advantage over their opponents who deny that time really passes. But what exactly is the content of such putative experiences? My aim is to determine what an experience would actually have to be like in order for it to be best explained by the fact that time passes.
A first point to be made is that if the argument is to have any force at all, it needs to be about perceptual experience. After all it is the role of perceptual experience to tell us something about how the world is. Are there any constraints on how temporal passage should be represented in experience? Does it have a certain ‘look’?
In ‘The Visual Experience of Causation’ (2009), Susanna Siegel argues that there are little or no constraints at all on how we should represent causal relations in experience. I argue, however, that in our case, if one wants to argue from the experience of passage to the fact that time passes, then one has to accept at least one constraint: however passage is represented in experience, the experience must be best explained by the fact that time passes. I suggest that a necessary condition for the content of one’s experience to be best explained by the fact that time passes is that the experience could not be accurate if time did not pass. This, I claim, is the phenomenal constraint (PC) that the defender of AfE must accept:
(PC) For an experience Ex to be best explained by the fact that p, it must be the case that Ex could not be accurate if not p.
The phenomenal constraint gives us a tool to re-evaluate the intuitively very compelling argument from experience. Time allowing, I will go through a variety of examples and show that these candidate experiences, experiences that one might think of as experiences of temporal passage, actually fail to meet the constraint. One natural thought is for example that we experience passage in virtue of experiencing change, or in virtue of experiencing change as ‘dynamic’. Another is that we experience passage in virtue of experiencing events as (successively) present. None of these experiences, I argue, license the inference from experience to actual passage. Although there might still be other ways to experience passage, passage defenders would have to provide us with a plausible candidate experience. If there is such an experience at all, it won’t be one that qualifies as what we intuitively take to be an experience of passage. The ‘intuitive advantage’, it seems, has dissolved in any case.