Review of Simon Prosser's 'Experiencing Time'
Dorato (Mauro)
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. On 01/24/2021 Alice thinks of her next birthday. After approximately one rotation of the Earth, the number of days that separates her experience from the anticipated event diminishes by one unit. Eventually her next birthday will become present and then it will be remembered.
  2. In the philosophy of time, there are two main explanations of this indubitable fact of our experience.
    1. One explanation, associated with some form or other of the A theory of time, amounts to the claim that time really passes: previously unreal, anticipated events continuously come into being in the present and our memories accumulate because past events mind-independently become more and more past.
    2. The other explanation, associated with the B theory of time, is that the universe is a 4-dimensional, static block in which there is no ontologically privileged present and the relation between Alice’s anticipations of her birthday on 01/24/2021 and her lived experiences the year after is fixed once and for all. The passage of time is an illusion.
  3. Simon Prosser’s Experiencing Time (2016) is a very brilliant defence of the B-theoretic explanation. There are two main merits of the book.
    1. The first is the richness of the philosophical arguments presented with clarity and discussed with a remarkable analytic skill.
    2. The second is Prosser’s familiarity with the empirical literature stemming from psychology and the cognitive sciences, which is sometimes brought to bear in the philosophical problems in an illuminating way.


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