Former IAS Fellow Dr Simon Prosser publishes latest book - Experiencing Time
(12 May 2016)
Our engagement with time is a ubiquitous feature of our lives. We are aware of time on many scales, from the briefest flicker of change to the way our lives unfold over many years. But to what extent does this encounter reveal the true nature of temporal reality? To the extent that temporal reality is as it seems, how do we come to be aware of it? And to the extent that temporal reality is not as it seems, why does it seem that way? These are the central questions addressed by Simon Prosser in Experiencing Time.
These questions take on a particular importance in philosophy for two reasons. Firstly, there is a view concerning the metaphysics of time, known as the B-theory of time, according to which the apparently dynamic quality of change, the special status of the present, and even the passage of time are all illusions. Instead, the world is a four-dimensional space-time block, lacking any of the apparent dynamic features of time. If the B-theory is correct, as the book argues, then it must be explained why our experiences seem to tell us otherwise. Secondly, experiences of temporal features such as changes, rates and durations are of independent interest because of certain puzzles that they raise, the solutions to which may shed light on broader issues in the philosophy of mind.