International symposium ‘Thinking in and about time’

The Centre for Philosophy of Time and the NeurophilosophyLab of the University of Milan invites applications for

International Symposium
Thinking in and about time:
A dual systems perspective on temporal cognition

Christoph Hoerl and Teresa McCormack

on April 11-12, 2019

In their target article to appear in Behavioural and Brain Sciences, Hoerl and McCormack outline a dual systems approach to temporal cognition, which distinguishes between two cognitive systems for dealing with how things unfold over time – a temporal updating system and a temporal reasoning system – of which the former is both phylogenetically and ontogenetically more primitive than the latter, and which are at work alongside each other in adult human cognition. They describe the main features of each of the two systems, the types of behavior the more primitive temporal updating system can support, and the respects in which it is more limited than the temporal reasoning system. They then use the distinction between the two systems to interpret findings in comparative and developmental psychology, arguing that animals operate only with a temporal updating system and that children start out doing so too, before gradually becoming capable of thinking and reasoning about time. After this, they turn to adult human cognition and suggest that our account can also shed light on a specific feature of our everyday thinking about time that has been the subject of debate in the philosophy of time, which consists in a tendency to think about the nature of time itself in a way that appears ultimately self-contradictory. They conclude by considering the topic of intertemporal choice, and argue that drawing the distinction between temporal updating and temporal reasoning is also useful in the context of characterising two distinct mechanisms for delaying gratification.


Postgraduates and early-stage researchers in philosophy or other related disciplines, are invited to apply. Contributions addressing issues related, but not limited, to the topic of the symposium are encouraged. A limited number of high-quality commentaries will be selected for presentation at the Symposium.
Please send an abstract (maximum 500 words) prepared for blind-review. The reviewing process will be managed through the EasyChair Conference System:

DEADLINE for submissions: 30 January 2019

NOTIFICATION of acceptance: 15 February 2019

DATE OF THE SYMPOSIUM: 11-12 April 2019

Limited funds may be available to cover the accommodation expenses of successful candidates.


Attendance to the symposium is free, and welcomed, but registration in advance is compulsory. In order to confirm your participation, please send an email to:

The event is funded by the Department of Philosophy of the University of Milan.
More information at:


April 11, 2019 - April 12, 2019
11-12 April – Symposium on ‘Thinking in and about time’
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