30. Evolutionary Explanations of Temporal Experience

  1. Heather Dyke and
  2. Adrian Bardon
  1. Heather Dyke and
  2. James Maclaurin

Published Online: 29 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118522097.ch30

A Companion to the Philosophy of Time

A Companion to the Philosophy of Time

How to Cite

Dyke, H. and Maclaurin, J. (2013) Evolutionary Explanations of Temporal Experience, in A Companion to the Philosophy of Time (eds H. Dyke and A. Bardon), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118522097.ch30

Editor Information

  1. University of Otago in New Zealand

Author Information

  1. University of Otago in New Zealand

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658819

Online ISBN: 9781118522097

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Keywords:

  • evolutionary explanations;
  • nature of time;
  • past/future asymmetry;
  • temporal experience;
  • temporal flow;
  • tensed belief

Summary

This chapter commences with an overview of what evolutionary explanations are, what they purport to explain, and the epistemic status of those explanations. The first section of the chapter sets out three types of evolutionary explanation. The second section analyzes five features of temporal experience, and asks whether each is an adaptation, an exaptation, or a spandrel. The chapter surveys evolutionary explanations of the processes that produce people's beliefs about time's flow, the asymmetry of past and future, and the rate of passage of time. Only in the case of temporal relational beliefs are people's beliefs about the nature of time straightforwardly underpinned by on-track processes allowing to infer that such beliefs are likely to be true. Ontological conclusions drawn from temporal experience are capable of being debunked by facts about evolutionary history.