22nd November: Valtteri Arstila (University of Turku) — “The Role of Retention in Temporal Experiences”
Sala Seminari, Via Festa del Perdono 7, h. 15:00-17:00.
Abstract: Theories of time consciousness aim to explain temporal experiences, that is, the experiences of extended events such as change, motion and succession. These theories are commonly classified in three categories. Cinematic models maintain that consciousness lacks temporal depth—the episodes of experiencing and the contents of experience are (essentially) punctual. This view has been taken to imply that strictly speaking we do have temporal experiences. Instead, change, motion and succession are inferred with the help of a memory. Retentionalism and extensionalism, in turn, agree that temporally extended events can be experienced. Moreover, both subscribe, in their own way, to the doctrine of the specious present according to which the contents of experiences have temporal depth. The difference between retentionalism and extensionalism concerns the temporal extension of each individual episode of experience: Retentionalism agrees with the cinematic model as to the punctual nature of the episodes of experiencing, whereas extensionalism holds that the episodes of experiencing are temporally extended. My objective of this talk is two-fold. First, I will argue that the doctrine of the specious present is false in one crucial aspect: the temporal depth of experiences does not explain our temporal experiences. Instead, the different aspects of temporal experiences arise from different mechanisms operating. The rejection of the doctrine makes this view partly similar to the cinematic model, whereas the claim that temporal experiences can be had makes the view similar to retentionalism and extensionalism. Second, contrary to how they are presented, I will argue that Le Poidevin’s and Prosser’s theories of time consciousness do not reject the doctrine of the specious present but are in fact almost indistinguishable from some versions of retentionalism. This is because both they and retentionalists maintain that short-term memory play a role at bringing about temporal experiences.
Project: CARIPLO 2015-0746 – TEMPFRAME (CUP: G45F15000050007)