Philosophy Department Seminar - Explaining Temporal Qualia with Matt Farr (University of Cambridge)
Cotham House G2
Abstract: Does time pass? A-theorists of time say it does; B-theorists disagree. However both sides of the time debate generally agree that it at least appears to us as though time passes, with B-theorists standardly taking the passage of time to be some kind of cognitive illusion. This paper rejects the idea that temporal passage forms part of our conscious representation of the world. I consider a range of explanatory strategies for the aspects of our temporal experience generally taken to be passage-like—which I term ‘temporal qualia’—, and defend a reductionist account, according to which our temporal qualia are nothing more than our generally veridical experience of change, motion, succession, and other such features of the world well-studied by empirical psychology. As such, I argue that our experience of time is neither illusory nor corresponds to temporal passage, and show that reductionism about temporal qualia is both continuous with and well supported by empirical work on time perception.