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The Primacy of Metaphysics$
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Christopher Peacocke

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835578

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835578.001.0001

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Time and Temporal Content

Time and Temporal Content

(p.72) 3 Time and Temporal Content
The Primacy of Metaphysics

Christopher Peacocke

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a metaphysics-first treatment of time and temporal concepts and language, opposed to all forms of subjectivism about time. It defends phenomenal externalism about time, and also aims to explain away temptations to subjectivism about time. It argues that we cannot explain the distinction between mere sensitivity to time and representation of time in terms of perceptual constancies. Nor can we explain it in terms of mere sensitivity to time that is coordinated with other genuinely representational states and capacities. A different theory of the distinction is developed, labelled representational preservation, which has to do with the preservation and updating of representations over time. An account of three different kinds of present-tense content in experience is developed. The correct characterization of the kinds can explain away some metaphysical illusions about time and the experience of temporal passage.

Keywords:   phenomenal externalism, William James, specious present, representation of time, sensitivity, representational preservation, present tense, Immanuel Kant

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