Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Institute of Advanced Study

Is there a ‘Specious Present’?

Abstract

According to the doctrine of the ‘specious present’ the content of conscious experience comprises a brief but extended interval of time, not just an instant. One standard argument for this view appeals to the fact that change always takes time. In this paper I suggest that this argument is a poor one; it conflates the properties of the stimulus with the properties of the experience. I then outline a simple way in which certain kinds of change could be experienced even if experience did not have a temporally extended content. I stop short of arguing directly against the specious present however; my aim here is more to challenge the argument than to challenge its conclusion.

Insights Paper