The philosophy of time has a variety of subtopics that are of great general as well as philosophical interest, such as the nature of time, the possibility of time travel, and the nature of tensed language. In Minding Time: A Philosophical and Theoretical Approach to the Psychology of Time (Brill, 2012), Carlos Montemayor, assistant professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University, focuses on the question: how do we represent time? That is, how is temporal information represented in biological creatures such as ourselves? Blending empirical research on biological timekeeping mechanisms and psychological measures of simultaneity judgments with philosophical accounts of mental representation and consciousness, Montemayor argues that traditional discussions of the “specious present” confuse two sorts of representations of the present. The empirical evidence points instead to a two-phase model: the sensorial present and the phenomenal present. The first is a non-conscious, multi-modal simultaneity window that is closely tied to our biological clocks and that informs our sensorimotor systems. The second is the rich conscious experience of succession or passage of time that does not obey the same metric constraints.
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