Why do people represent time as dynamical? An investigation of temporal dynamism and the open future

Philosophical Studies 180 (5):1717-1742 (2023)
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Deflationists hold that it does not seem to us, in experience, as though time robustly passes. There is some recent empirical evidence that appears to support this contention. Equally, empirical evidence suggests that we naïvely represent time as dynamical. Thus deflationists are faced with an explanatory burden. If, as they maintain, the world seems to us in experience as though it is non-dynamical, then why do we represent time as dynamical? This paper takes up the challenge of investigating, on the part of the deflationist, one candidate explanation. We hypothesise that people’s belief that the future is what we call deliberatively open partly explains why they represent time as dynamical. In a series of two experiments we test this hypothesis. We find no evidence that beliefs about deliberative openness explain why people represent time as dynamical. Hence there remains an explanatory burden for the deflationist to discharge.

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Author Profiles

Andrew James Latham
Aarhus University
Kristie Miller
University of Sydney