• Bartricks
    2k
    I don't see how the view I have expressed is 'presentism'. I am not making a claim about what exists (which is what I understand presentism to be), but about what we're aware of.

    My view is that it is absurd to think that we are not aware of the present moment.

    There are views about hte nature of time - the idea that time is some kind of mind-external substance - that imply we are not aware of the present moment, but are subject to the systematic illusion of presentness.

    I am saying that those views need to be rejected, if that is indeed what they imply.

    What we need to think about is how it would be possible to be aware of the present moment, for then we would be wondering about how things would need to be if things are to be as they appear to be.
  • PoeticUniverse
    803
    I don't see how the view I have expressed is 'presentism'.Bartricks

    I'm just saying that I've treated the presentist mode of time, so far, and so the only hope lies in the eternalist mode, wherein every event/path of Everything is all at once, with no becoming, but just us somehow proceeding along world lines, although this is difficult for us to tell apart from presentism.
  • Umbra
    9
    I get that you are talking about the representative "contents" of an experience, rather than the experience itself. Separating the two is perhaps not the best way to think of things on a phenomenological level, but I get what you mean.

    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.Bartricks

    Why can't it simply mean that what we consider the present is also always impregnated with the past (and also with the future, for that matter)?

    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?
    Bartricks

    Simply because the things of our present experience may contain the "property of pastness" does not mean that we are under the sway of an illusion. Again, I know that the light from the stars I am seeing is the result of an event that occurred long ago. But that does not make the light's presence in my immediate experience an illusion--there is nothing "false" about it's appearance in my visual field, or in my experience of it as something present. In the same way I am not in error when I consider this phenomena to be part of my experiential present.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I am not following you. Presentism is, as I understand it (and I am not at all sure I do), the view that only those things that have presentness actually exist. So it is not really a view about time, as such, but a view about existence.

    Anyway, can you explain how the view that only present things exist would show that our perceptions of the present are accurate and not systematically mistaken?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Separating the two is perhaps not the best way to think of things on a phenomenological level,Umbra

    it is by separating the two that one sees that we are subject to an illusion of the presentness of things, given a certain view about the nature of time.

    Simply because the things of our present experience may contain the "property of pastness" does not mean that we are under the sway of an illusion.Umbra

    How could it not do, given that our experience does not represent them to have that property, but a quite different one - presentness?

    Again, I know that the light from the stars I am seeing is the result of an event that occurred long ago.Umbra

    When I look at the Mueller Lyer lines - the two parallel straight lines that appear, visually, to be bending - I know that the two lines are straight and not bending. But they nevertheless 'appear' to be bending, and thus I am subject to an illusion. An illusion, to be an illusion, does not have to convince its victim that what is being represented to be the case, is in fact the case. It is sufficient that some aspect of what is being represented to be the case, is not the case.

    Likewise, though I may believe correctly that the stars I am seeing are in fact in the past, my experience of them represents them to be in the present. No-one, for instance, who has not been told about the stars and the length of time it takes their light to travel to us, would believe they are looking at past stars. They would believe that the stars are as present as everything else in their experience - because that is what their experience represents to be the case.

    So I do not really see what your star example is supposed to illustrate, for it seems if anything just to describe a supposed illusion - that stars that appear to be in the present, are in fact in the past.
  • PoeticUniverse
    803
    I am not following you. Presentism is, as I understand it (and I am not at all sure I do), the view that only those things that have presentness actually exist. So it is not really a view about time, as such, but a view about existence.Bartricks

    Presentism is the temporal mode of time, there is only now; the future is not yet and the past is gone. All is generated anew, as the new now from the previous now, which goes away. It's not clear how thick or thin the now is. This clashes with Einstein's relativity.

    Anyway, can you explain how the view that only present things exist would show that our perceptions of the present are accurate and not systematically mistaken?Bartricks

    Assuming presentism, our perceptions as to what is present are brain memories stitched together in consciousness, but the real events have already perished. It's like watching a tape-delayed TV show; it's not really live, although it's close.

    In the non-temporal mode of time, eternalism, there is no time, for this mode is timeless. It's like Einstein's Block universe. All the events are pre-canned; the future and the past exist ever. Somehow, we pass though it, giving us our apparent now.

    In the growing block mode of time, the past is kept and ever remains but the future is not yet.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    6.6k
    My view is that it is absurd to think that we are not aware of the present moment.Bartricks

    You ought to consider that if everything is in the past, as you describe in the op, then things we are aware of are only memories. However, this is clearly not the case, because we anticipate things of the future, and are aware of them, at the same time. Because of this anticipation, the future affects our awareness just as much as the past. Therefore our awareness is part past, memories, and part future, anticipation.

    You might think that if our awareness is partly of the past, and partly of the future, the present remains an illusion. However, when we realize that there is a substantial difference between future and past, then we must recognize a real division between them, to justify that difference. This is the reality of the present. Awareness of the present is not an illusion, it's the apprehension of a real difference between future and past.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I've lost you now. Again, what would it take for us to be accurately perceiving the present moment?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    You ought to consider that if everything is in the past, as you describe in the opMetaphysician Undercover

    That's not my view. That's what a 'time as soup' view would imply. But as I said in the OP, I think it's baloney precisely because it has that upshot.

    So what we need to think about is what it would take for a person to be accurately perceiving the present moment.

    You ought to consider that if everything is in the past, as you describe in the op, then things we are aware of are only memories.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't think that follows. Memories are recollections, but what I am talking about are our impressions of the present moment. I am wondering what it would take for them to be accurate.

    Awareness of the present is not an illusion, it's the apprehension of a real difference between future and past.Metaphysician Undercover

    I do not follow. Given that my current impressions represent their content to be 'present', they'd need actually to be present for those impressions to qualify as veridical. So there would need to be no lag between the content of the impression obtaining, and the impression forming in my mind.
  • Luke
    538
    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.PoeticUniverse

    The presumption seems to be that the *real* present moment is the time of consciousness (or the time at which we find ourselves conscious) minus 300-500 milliseconds of brain processing time. But why make this presumption? The word "present" is not commonly used in this way, and I see no basis for preferring the 'mathematical present' over the 'colloquial present' (to borrow 's terms).
  • Bartricks
    2k
    The present moment is 'now' - the problem, as I see it, is that if time is an objective material, then the experiences you have in the present moment give you information about events that occurred in the past, at the same time as representing them to be occurring now. Hence why on such a view we seem unable to experience the present moment. We get the impression we are experiencing the present moment, but in fact the content of such experiences are past moments, albeit represented to be present. Hence we are subject to a systematic illusion of presentness.

    The way to overcome this and respect appearances is to reject the 'objective soup' view of time. What I suggest replacing it with is an 'external attitude' view of time. According to my replacement, 'what it is' for an event to be in the present is for that event to be being thought about in a certain kind of way, albeit not by us but by some third party - by Reason.
  • PoeticUniverse
    803
    what would it take for us to be accurately perceiving the present moment?Bartricks

    It would have to be instant; no perceiving; no figuring out; no processing at all.
  • Qwex
    334
    The past is a mystery that can't be unravelled.

    You can sense past events, think past memories, but this happens in the present, it's mysterious. It is more time-cut off.

    Is there a past? Didn't we invent the clock? Is the past waste energy?
  • Pfhorrest
    1.2k
    I dunno about y’all but I’m livin’ in the future. I can pull a computer out of my pocket and wireless watch a live feed of Earth from space from pretty much anywhere.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    It would have to be instant; no perceiving; no figuring out; no processing at all.PoeticUniverse

    But it can't involve 'no perceiving' (that's a contradiction). For the question is 'what it would take' for us to be perceiving the present moment.

    If time is a dimension in which events are located, then it is hard to see how the events constitutive of our experiences could do anything but lag behind the events they are telling us about. Hence perceiving the present moment becomes like catching one's shadow.

    But there's a different way to think about time, one which makes possible (though not inevitable) that our apparent perceptions of the present moment are indeed what they seem to be.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Question begging. If reality is as you think it is - and I take it that you think time is some kind of a stuff - then your experience of the live feed lags behind its actual report.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.2k
    It was a joke.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    How?

    For example, is this a joke?

    "I don't know about you guys, but I live in a square-circular house. I can look at it in a mirror anytime I want"

    Presumably not, because the first claim is just incoherent and the second doesn't do anything to reveal - to our delight or frustration - a confused sense in which the first may, after all, be true.

    But that, it seems to me, is how things are with what you said too.

    So I really do not understand.
  • Qwex
    334
    tell me how the hoverboards go.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.2k
    “I’m living in the future” as in technology has advanced to a point that in my formative years would have been called “futuristic”. We are now in the general era of time that I spent most of my life thinking of as “the future”. Nothing to do with the instantaneous perception of time this thread is about. Just a joke about the title: “living in the past” meaning living one’s life as though it’s a bygone era, “living in the future” meaning as described above.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    It is still producing no mirth in me.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.2k
    Dissecting a joke kills it. Like with frogs.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    That too was a joke, yes? I think I am getting the hang of it. Dissecting a joke takes something that might - or might not - have had some potential life in it, and prevents it from developing. Like the morning after pill. Does that work?

    Anyway, let's say that your joke causes mirth in me. Then the joke is funny - funny-to-me. It has the property of being 'funny-to-me'. It won't necessarily have that property if it is funny to someone else, or funny to you. It only has that property if it produces mirth in me.

    What I propose is that the property of being 'present' is akin to this kind of a property. An event is 'present' when it features as the object of Reason's temporal attitudes, just as a joke is funny-to-me when it features as the object of my mirth.
  • Luke
    538
    The present moment is 'now' - the problem, as I see it, is that if time is an objective material, then the experiences you have in the present moment give you information about events that occurred in the past, at the same time as representing them to be occurring now. Hence why on such a view we seem unable to experience the present moment. We get the impression we are experiencing the present moment, but in fact the content of such experiences are past moments, albeit represented to be present. Hence we are subject to a systematic illusion of presentness.

    The way to overcome this and respect appearances is to reject the 'objective soup' view of time. What I suggest replacing it with is an 'external attitude' view of time. According to my replacement, 'what it is' for an event to be in the present is for that event to be being thought about in a certain kind of way, albeit not by us but by some third party - by Reason.
    Bartricks

    I think we're both saying something similar or the same: you say the present moment is the time of reasoning, whereas I say it is the time of consciousness.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I think we're both saying something similar or the same: you say the present moment is the time of reasoning, whereas I say it is the time of consciousness.Luke

    I wouldn't define it like that, as those definitions are circular (given that to say that 'it is the time of consciousness' is equivalent to saying it "it is the moment consciousness is present" ).

    My view is that 'time' is not a stuff - not a dimension, not a goo that events are suspended in. Time is a set of attitudes that Reason adopts towards events. It has nothing to do with us reasoning.
  • Luke
    538
    I wouldn't define it like that, as those definitions are circular (given that to say that 'it is the time of consciousness' is equivalent to saying it "it is the moment consciousness is present" ).Bartricks

    I would note that others have defined the present moment differently, as the moment consciousness is present minus the brain processing time of approximately 300-500ms.

    Your use of "consciousness is present" appears to conflate 'consciousness is present in me' and 'consciousness is at the present moment'. Of course, I define the present moment as the (same) time that consciousness is present in me, but others in this discussion do not.

    Time is a set of attitudes that Reason adopts towards events. It has nothing to do with us reasoning.Bartricks

    This seems like a contradiction. Are you making a distinction between Reason and reasoning? What is it?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I would note that others have defined the present moment differently, as the moment consciousness is present minus the brain processing time of approximately 300-500ms.Luke

    No, that wasn't a definition of the present moment. The person who wrote it was just saying what I'd already said, namely that if time is a kind of soup, then what we experience as the present moment has in fact already passed.

    The present moment is just the present moment - it is what a moment is if it is not past or future. To say of a moment that it is 'present' is to say something about its temporal properties.

    Your use of "consciousness is present" appears to conflate 'consciousness is present in me' and 'consciousness is at the present moment'.Luke

    No, that's a conflation you are making, not me. I have been clear. There is a present moment. The experiences you are having right now are in it.

    The point, however, is that what they are experiences 'of' will be past events if - if - that is, time is a kind of stuff.

    I don't think it is a kind of stuff. I think things are largely as they appear. These events - these ones - appear to be happening right now. I think they probably are happening right now, not a fraction of a second ago.

    This seems like a contradiction. Are you making a distinction between Reason and reasoning? What is it?Luke

    How does it seem like a contradiction? There isn't even a whiff of contradiction about it.

    'Our reason' is a faculty. Using it is called 'reasoning'. And what it gives us insight into is Reason.

    For an analogy: sight, seeing, and sights. Sight is a faculty. Seeing is what you're doing when you're using it. And sights are what you see with it.

    Our reason is a faculty; reasoning is what you're doing when you use it; and Reason is what you gain insight into by using it.

    Time, I am saying, is made of Reason's attitudes.
  • Luke
    538
    No, that wasn't a definition of the present moment. The person who wrote it was just saying what I'd already said, namely that if time is a kind of soup, then what we experience as the present moment has in fact already passed.Bartricks

    This is equivalent to saying that "what we experience as the present moment" is not really the present moment, because it "has in fact already passed". This is to define the *real* present moment as "what we experience as the present moment" minus the brain processing time.

    These events - these ones - appear to be happening right now. I think they probably are happening right now, not a fraction of a second ago.Bartricks

    Sure, if you define the temporal property of "now" or "the present moment" as being simultaneous with our conscious experiences.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Sure, if you define the temporal property of "now" or "the present moment" as being simultaneous with our conscious experiencesLuke

    No, I am just saying what the present moment is made of - that is, I am saying what the property of presentness is.

    There's what is present, and there's what presentness is. You're running these together.
  • jgill
    313
    ↪Pfhorrest It is still producing no mirth in me.Bartricks

    To be mirthless at such wit means you are behind the times. :smirk:
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