A Minimal Account of Temporal Experience

  • Abigail Connor

Student thesis: Phd


There are two features of temporal experience, perceptual presence and temporal extension, which I take to be essential. These features are both phenomenally grounded and intuitively plausible, yet they seem to be in conflict with one another. The truth of one seems to guarantee the falsity of the other. The first feature is that we only ever perceive that which occurs in the present. Perception is restricted to the now. However, in conflict with this, we perceive temporally extended events. We perceive events that unfold over an interval of time. If we only perceive events that occur now, then we cannot also perceive events that take time. This is the Puzzle of Temporal Experience. I develop the Minimal Account, according to which perceptual experience has a minimal temporal content. By appealing to a direct reference account of indexicals, I set out the conditions under which a perceptual experience of a temporally extended perceptually present event can be considered accurate. In doing so, I provide a solution to the Puzzle of Temporal Experience. The Minimal Account contributes to the current debate by analysing previously discussed puzzles of temporal experience. It helps to progress the debate by approaching these puzzles from a different perspective and providing a new solution.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJoel Smith (Supervisor) & Sean Crawford (Supervisor)


  • Temporal Experience
  • Perception
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Mind

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