Research seminar of philosophy

Alkaa kello
Päättyy kello

Pinni B -building, lecture hall 4141 (Address: Kanslerinrinne 1)

Why we believe that time passes?

Senior research fellow Valtteri Arstila (University of Turku/Department of Philosophy)

Why we believe that time passes?

Most people believe that time passes. While many philosophers throughout the history have agreed, they have become more divided over this issue especially since the early 20th century. Yet, both sides generally agree that some aspect of our experiences gives the impression-correct or not-that time passes. What this aspect exactly is, remains debated too though. That is, the intensely debated issues in the metaphysics of time do not only relate to the disagreement over the (possible) passage of time but also why we believe that time passes in the first place. Thus, for example, Smart who maintained that the passage of time is an illusion also maintained that one should "give some sort of explanation of how this illusion arises."

In this talk, I present a new explanation for the pervasive belief that time passes for which no satisfactory explanation currently exists. I will begin by introducing two recent suggestions that have not received the attention they deserve. The first one is Almäng's claim, based on the doctrine of the specious present, that the contents of experiences are tensed and that this grounds the belief. The second one is Torrengo's phenomenal modifier view, according to which the belief is grounded in the way in which phenomenal contents are presented. While these suggestions avoid the problem of the earlier proposals, they are inadequate at explaining why the belief that time passes is held. Nonetheless, the critical examination of them points towards my proposal according to which the belief is grounded on protention, a sort of anticipation of events that are about to occur immediately.



For more information, please contact:
Jani Hakkarainen
040 190 4125