• Bartricks
    2k
    This event - this one - seems to me to be present. It is, I think, occurring 'now'.

    But if time is some kind of wierd soup in which we're all slowly drowning, then there will surely be a lag between some event occurring and the event of my mind representing it to be occuring, occuring.

    If that's true, then the mental event of mine that represents this - this now - to be occurring, is representing as occuring now something that has, in fact, already occurred. This event - this one - is in the past, not the present. I perceive it to be in the present - it has presentness to me - but in reality it is past.

    If that's true, then doesn't that mean we are subject to a systematic illusion of the present? All the events we take to be present, are in fact past. Hence, we would actually be living in the past in the sense that everything we took to be present is not present, but past. (Obviously we are actually in the present, it is just that experientially we would be in the past - we would be living in the past in 'that' sense).

    A thought experiment to illustrate the point: imagine you are on a jet plane and it crashes into the side of a mountain at top speed. Would you experience the crash? Would you experience - albeit very briefly - the plane around you crumbling away? Or would you not experience the crash at all?

    I mean, a jet aircraft travels at around the speed of a bullet. So if it hits the mountain at that speed, you're brain is going to be demolished faster than it can transmit this information to your mind. So, what happens just prior to the impact is all that will have time to find its way into your mind, the actual crash itself won't.

    I think that's all baloney and that it is grossly implausible that what we take to be the present is in fact the past. I think, for the most part, we accurately perceive that we are in the present. And as such I think we would experience the crash, up to the point where our brain is demolished.

    Discuss. And don't mention physics once please.
  • Seditious
    2
    Light hits an apple, the material properties of the object alter the wavelength that is bounced off it. That particular wavelength hits the cells in the back of your eyes, beginning a process by which your brain ultimately interprets the data recieved and you experience the sight of the apple. All of that takes time, every step of it, even if only very short periods of time. So as to part of your post, yes, everything you experience is not in "real time", it's pretty close, but to split hairs, it's certainly not instantaneous.

    But the human perception of time is just that, a perception, something our minds utilize to help us navigate reality, such as it may be. All kinds of assumptions can be made about the nature of time, and likewise the nature of human perception in relation to time, however, I wouldn't go so far as to declare with any degree of certainty that time only flows in the direction which we perceive. The universe is truly vast, and for all we know, there might be an infinite number of infinitely vast universes, a multiverse if you will. Does it matter how time conducts itself if we can't do anything about it? Perhaps in the relatively near future, some technology will afford us new and valuable insight into time and our perceptions thereof, but as far as I know, how we experience the linear progression of time is fundamentally subjective.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Well, I'm saying that's baloney. A certain picture is being assumed to be a true - a picture that, if true, would render all perceptions of the present moment illusory. That's a bad picture, then. It's unlikely to be accurate.

    So,

    1. if time is a soup - which seems to be the received view - then we do not perceive the present moment.
    2. We 'do' perceive the present moment. This, right now, is present.
    3. Therefore time is not a soup.

    What we need is an account of time that does not render our impressions of the present illusory.
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    If that's true, then doesn't that mean we are subject to a systematic illusion of the present?Bartricks

    Philip K. Dick was of that opinion.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Philip K. Dick was of that opinion.fishfry

    Then he deserved his surname.
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    ↪fishfry
    Philip K. Dick was of that opinion.
    — fishfry

    Then he deserved his surname.
    Bartricks

    Uh ... he's agreeing with you. I'm not sure I follow your point, and I disagree strongly with your apparent criticism of the man.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I don't think we're living in the past. I thought you were saying that it was his opinion that we were. If he agrees with me, then his surname is unjust.
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    fishfry I don't think we're living in the past. I thought you were saying that it was his opinion that we were. If he agrees with me, then his surname is unjust.Bartricks

    In some of his later writings he expressed that idea. I can't imagine slurring the guy for his name. Do you even know who he is? I'm going to let this go. Sorry I mentioned it.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    In some of his later writings he expressed that idea. I can't imagine slurring the guy for his name. Do you even know who he is? I'm going to let this go. Sorry I mentioned it.fishfry

    No, I am unsure who he was, and I am entirely unclear why you are mentioning him.

    I don't agree with him if he thinks we're subject to a systematic illusion of the present. But as I suspect he's dead, I can't take him to task about it.
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    No, I am unsure who he wasBartricks

    Hence embarrassing yourself. Use the Google, Luke. Philip K. Dick was a prolific writer of science fiction. He's greatly revered.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Hence embarrassing yourself.fishfry

    How? I'm not embarrassed. He should be, with a name like that.

    Anyway, how about actually addressing the OP rather than telling me about dead science fiction authors with silly names
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    How? I'm not embarrassed. He should be, with a name like that.

    Anyway, how about actually addressing the OP rather than telling me about dead science fiction authors with silly names
    Bartricks

    Asshole. LOL. No more from me on this.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Good! thanks for wasting my time you giant Philip K.
  • tim wood
    3.8k
    This event - this one - seems to me to be present. It is, I think, occurring 'now'.Bartricks
    Another thread stumbling over its lack of any definitions, in particular the ones it needs, that having would probably resolve the question asked. It's your thread, what do you mean by past? By present? Because you exclude any insights due to physics, I have to assume you're asking about the phenomenology of perception, yes? As to the possibility of illusion, by what standard?

    It seems like the question of the OP might lead to a discussion of some interest, but you appear to have tied a knot in it.

    But I'll assay an answer: we live in a perceptual present, but in terms of the world, it's always already passed. We're lucky enough to be just quick enough to be sometimes confused on this. I drop a coin or my keys. Sometimes I'm quick enough to catch them. Which makes me think I'm ahead of the curve instead of always at all times behind it.
  • fishfry
    1.2k
    Good! thanks for wasting my time you giant Philip K.Bartricks

    Have you seen any of the movies Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Adjustment Bureau, or A Scanner Darkly?
  • Umbra
    9
    There is no "illusion" of the present in the way you are framing it. This is not to say we don't "lag behind" our experiences; indeed this is exactly what Proust has already described in his thousands of pages of writing.

    As @tim wood has said, you are stumbling along in this post and there's nothing but your own feet to blame.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Because you exclude any insights due to physics, I have to assume you're asking about the phenomenology of perception, yes? As to the possibility of illusion, by what standard?tim wood

    I am asking about what I am asking about - read the OP.

    Another thread stumbling over its lack of any definitions,tim wood

    Another person who thinks philosophy is about defining things. Get a dictionary and solve all the problems of philosophy!

    It's your thread, what do you mean by past?tim wood

    An attitude of Reason.

    It seems like the question of the OP might lead to a discussion of some interest, but you appear to have tied a knot in it.tim wood

    Er, what?

    we live in a perceptual present, but in terms of the world, it's always already passed.tim wood

    No. That's the result of a particular picture of time - time as soup. As explained in the OP.

    But if - if - an analysis of time has the upshot that all of our impressions of 'now' constitute illusions, then that analysis is rubbish.

    First order of business is to respect appearances.

    A good analysis of time is not one that renders our experience of the present systematically illusory, but one that vindicates it. Certainly, if other things are equal then an analysis of time that respects the appearances - and thus permits us an awareness of the present moment - is rationally to be preferred to one that does not.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    As tim wood has said, you are stumbling along in this post and there's nothing but your own feet to blame.Umbra

    That makes no sense at all.

    There is no "illusion" of the present in the way you are framing it. This is not to say we don't "lag behind" our experiences;Umbra

    Nor does that. If - if - our experiences lag behind the reality they are giving us an experience of, then we are subject to an illusion of the present, for what our experience represents to be present is actually past.
  • unenlightened
    4.2k
    Experience is always in the past. And here is a blast from the past by the Professor of Experience himself that both expounds and exemplifies:

  • khaled
    1.3k
    I think that's all baloney and that it is grossly implausible that what we take to be the present is in fact the past.Bartricks

    Uhhh why do you think this? You've made a solid case for the opposite view. Can we agree that experiences arise when certain brain operations occur? Can we agree that those operations take time (though a minuscule amount of it)? If so how can you avoid the conclusion that everything experienced is a fraction of a fraction of a second behind what is actually happening.
  • Relativist
    1.1k
    This event - this one - seems to me to be present. It is, I think, occurring 'now'.

    But if time is some kind of wierd soup in which we're all slowly drowning, then there will surely be a lag between some event occurring and the event of my mind representing it to be occuring, occuring.

    If that's true, then the mental event of mine that represents this - this now - to be occurring, is representing as occuring now something that has, in fact, already occurred. This event - this one - is in the past, not the present. I perceive it to be in the present - it has presentness to me - but in reality it is past.

    If that's true, then doesn't that mean we are subject to a systematic illusion of the present?
    Bartricks
    The term the present connotes two different, but related, concepts: the mathematical present (that fleeting point on a real number line representing the procession of time), and the colloquial sense of the present, which is rooted in perception.

    Our sensory perceptions take time to be integrated by the brain. The physics (sorry!) makes it impossible for each sense to be precisely synchronized, but they are sufficiently synchronized to deliver a reasonably accurate integrated perception of the environment in which we can interact.

    Colloquial reference to the present are contextual. At present:
    - I'm typing this response (I'm referring to the entire period of time I spend on it);
    - The word I'm typing is "present" (which was true only during the brief period of time I was typing those letters).
    - Donald Trump is President (I'm referring to the four year period in which that is true).

    So its fuzzy semantically and perceptually, but it's precise only in the mathematical sense.
  • Umbra
    9
    If - if - our experiences lag behind the reality they are giving us an experience of, then we are subject to an illusion of the present, for what our experience represents to be present is actually past.

    As Augustine has said, strictly speaking there is (for us) no past, only the present of things past.

    Appearances can be deceptive while also being true. If I peer into the night sky with a telescope, I can rationally cognize that the stars I am observing are the result of events that have happened long ago. Perhaps the stars I see no longer even exist. But it does not follow that my experience of the present moment is therefore illusory. In other words, I think we are in agreement here, but I think you are framing the question with a faulty premise.
  • Tzeentch
    574
    The real question is; what happens when we experience mind itself, turning observer and observed into the same object?
  • PoeticUniverse
    803
    Of course, we only experience what's already past. Merely, light finite speed takes care of that by itself. Then there is the 300-500 millisecond delay required for the brain to make something out of what's happening. However, one goals continue across these gaps. Still, all in all, what consciousness thinks it is deciding right then and there has already been decided, which is bad news for hopeful free willers.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I think you're all thinking about matters in quite the wrong way.

    It is a basic principle of investigation, first articulated by Aristotle, that you 'respect the appearances'.

    If something appears to be the case, that is prima facie evidence that it 'is' the case.

    The objects of sense experiences appear to have now-ness.

    So, that is prima facie evidence that they do have now-ness.

    What you're all doing is starting out with a certain idea about how things are - an idea whose truth should not be taken for granted - and then blithely concluding that as that idea would force us to conclude that all our impressions of the present are illusory, they 'are' illusory.

    That's the opposite of what you should do if you're serious about understanding reality. For what you've done is effectively decide who's guilty 'before' investigating the crime scene. You should not assume who's guilty before investigating the scene - you should just investigate the scene and let the evidence lead you.

    What you are doing is using philosophy to support whatever worldview you happen to have in your head at the moment. That's not what you should use philosophy to do. That's to try and make Reason your slave.

    Now, the events that you are experiencing right now appear to be 'right now' - that is, they have presentness. They appear to be now, so other things being equal that is good evidence that they 'are' now. It is therefore prima facie evidence that the 'soup' conception of time is false.

    Perhaps changing the question would be better. What would it take - so, forget what you think is in fact the case - what would it take for our perceptions of the present moment to be veridical? How would things need to be, for my impression that this is happening 'now' to be correct?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Of course, we only experience what's already past.PoeticUniverse

    No, not 'of course'. The opposite: of course we experience the present, not an illusion of the present.

    Make the adjustments necessary.

    And 'of course' we have free will.

    Make the adjustments necessary.

    And so on.

    A fool overturns the more clear in favour of respecting the less. Be wise!
  • Bartricks
    2k
    No, the real question is 'what would it take for us to have a veridical experience of the present?'

    Try and answer that question.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    But it does not follow that my experience of the present moment is therefore illusory.Umbra

    I fail to see why not. My experience represents its objects to be present. So, for it to be accurate they would need actually to be present. Yet on the time-as-soup view, what my experience represents to be the case is not the case. The objects of my experience (that is, not the experience itself, but what it represents to be the case) have in reality a quite different property - pastness - to the presentness that I perceive them to have.

    How are such experiences not, therefore, illusory?

    I think it is you - not I - who has changed the premise. You're simply pointing out that the experience itself is now. Yes, but I am not talking about the experience itself, but its representative contents.

    take some other illusion - any illusion you like. Well, the experience constitutive of the illusion is not illusory in the sense that I 'am' having an experience. But it is its 'contents' that qualify it as an illusion - for what they represent to be the case is not accurate. In my dreams I take my imaginings to not be imagininings, and hence I seem to be inhabiting a mind-external world on such occasions. But the impression is illusory, for what my experiences represent to be mind-external are mind-internal.

    That's exactly what is the case here. The content of some of my mental states are represented to have presentness, whereas in fact they do not.

    To put it another way, this experience right now does not seem to be of the past, but of the present. If it is actually of the past, then it is illusory. We do not appear to be experiencing the past, but the present.
  • Tzeentch
    574
    Some would argue my question answers yours, and your question answers mine.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Who? And how would that answer go?

    I mean this:

    The real question is; what happens when we experience mind itself, turning observer and observed into the same object?Tzeentch

    just sounds like Krishnamurti nonsense. It is a) not, by any stretch of the imagination, the 'real' question; and b) answer the second bit yourself by looking into a mirror and staring at your own eyes.
  • PoeticUniverse
    803
    And so on.Bartricks

    That's the presentist outlook; now, if we are to get around that, we need to consider the eternalize. viewpoint, wherein already complete events are simple presented…
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