Experience, Action and the Metaphysics of Time
26th June 2012
- Robin Le Poidevin (Leeds)
- Barry Dainton (Liverpool)
- David Cockburn (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David)
The debate between proponents of the A-theory and the B-theory is a familiar one, conducted across a range of metaphysical issues (truthmakers, propositions, change). Our everyday experiences, such as of perceiving, acting, and undergoing emotions, clearly involve both a temporal dimension and an awareness of time. But do the different kinds of experience support either metaphysical theory of time?
For instance, for an action to be rational, it often requires a tensed awareness of certain facts (that the meeting is about to start now; that I am late for it). Many emotions seem to have a temporal orientation, in that they are only appropriate as regards events in the past (grief) or future (fear). Our perception of things and events, as opposed to imagining or remembering them, is often thought to have a present-tensed aspect. And the flowing of experiences through time itself seems to require a sense of what is happening at this present moment.
In each of these cases it can be asked if this experience can only be explained by appeal to irreducibly tensed facts, or if it can be accounted for by a tenseless theory. Although these issues have been previously discussed, the matter remains unsettled and we believe it deserves renewed consideration in light of advances in the theories of action, emotion, perception and the self (for example, the increased recognition of the variety of ways in which an emotion can be taken to be appropriate or not).
We are looking for papers in any of the above areas, or on any topics which relate to the overall conference theme, especially those that recognise how advances made in other areas of philosophy can inform the metaphysics of time or vice versa.
Papers will be 30 minutes in length.
Please send abstracts of up to 500 words to either Olley Pearson (email@example.com) or Donnchadh O’Conaill (
Decisions on speakers will be made within two weeks of this date.
A website for the conference can be found at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/f.o.c.pearson/EAMT.htm
Sponsored by Durham University Department of Philosophy.