Principal Investigator (PI): Giuliano Torrengo (University of Milan)

Members: the members of the CPT

One post-doc position is now out!


The main aim of TIME-METHODS is to develop a conceptual map of the connections between the different methodological approaches to time-related problems in various branches of philosophy, such as the experience of the passage of time in philosophy of mind, the notion of fundamental temporal feature in metaphysics, and the reality of space-time in philosophy of physics.

Roughly speaking, two kinds of approach have been applied to investigate these questions and, more generally, time-related themes. The first can be called the “mind-to-world” approach, and it is typical of philosophy of mind and certain types of philosophy of language. In this approach, the focus is on mental mechanisms of various sorts, from the processing of temporal information to the characterization of temporal experience; within this approach philosophy interacts mainly with psychology and linguistics. The second can be called the “in-the-world” approach, whose focus is the ontological status of various temporal features, and more generally on issues of realism concerning the fundamental structure of temporal reality. Those two approaches have been pursued both from an a posteriori perspective (typical of philosophy of science, and its close interaction with physics and other hard sciences), and from a perspective centered on a priori reasoning (typical of metaphysics, logics, and certain areas of philosophy of language).

The mind-to-world and the in-the-world approaches overlap in several ways. On the one hand, metaphysical theses may clash with what experience presents to us, and the case of metaphysics of time is no exception. For instance, the tenet that the fundamental level of reality comprises only tenseless features (such as the relation of temporal succession, that of simultaneity, or location at a temporal point) is at odds with the dynamic flavor of ordinary experience. A possible reply is that this aspect of our ordinary experience is indeed illusory, and the study of cognitive and perceptual mechanism corroborates this hypothesis. On the other hand, the study of the mental mechanisms that underpin the temporal aspects of our experiences is sensitive to different metaphysical background conditions. For instance, the explanation of how we experience the present is sensitive to whether we regard the present and its flow as metaphysically privileged or whether we take all times to be on a par.

TIME-METHODS is a work-package of the project TEMP-FRAME — A New Approach to the Study of Time (2015-0746), which has been funded by Regione Lombardia and Fondazione Cariplo (15-5-3007000-601). The work package TIME-METHODS has also been funded by the Università degli Studi di Milano (15-6-3007000-2021).

Within TIME-METHODS, many COLLOQUIA and WORKSHOPS will be organized in collaborations with other scholars and research groups in Europe.


Further themes of investigations:

The open future

The reality (or unreality) of the past

Physical laws and the nature of time

Time travel, and the relation between causality and temporality

Persistence and temporal location

Time, possibility and necessity

Time and biological evolution

Free action and fate

Dispositions and powers in time

The metaphysics of change

Life, the universe, and everything…

(See also Themes of Investigation and Collaborations at the CPT page)



Con il contributo di Regione Lombardia e Fondazione Cariplo

per il progetto TempFrame — A New Approach to the Study of Time (2015-0746)


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