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Title: A Quantum Theory of Felt Duration
Authors: Merino-Rajme, Carla
Advisors: Johnston, Mark
Leslie, Sarah-Jane
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Experience of Duration
Perception of Time
Philosophy of Mind
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: How do we experience time? When you experience today's walk as taking twice as long as yesterday's and then judge that this is so, what is going on? What is it to experience a walk <italic>as taking twice as long as</italic> another? Do I look at some mental analogue of a watch, one available to me even when I am not wearing a watch on my wrist? Of course not. Nor is there a blinking red light in my visual field that measures how long events take. So do we really experience the durations of events, as opposed to just finding ourselves with judgments concerning their durations? In this dissertation, I defend the idea that we experience durations--that there is something that it is like to experience an event as lasting for a particular amount of time. I develop a theory aimed at explaining what <italic>felt duration</italic> is, what is distinctive about it, and just how we experience events as having durations of different and yet comparable amounts. It is crucial to this theory that there is a particular duration such that experiencing an event as having that duration has a distinctive phenomenal quality. This is the duration characteristic of what I call <italic>a quantum</italic>: the longest-lived temporal slice of a situation experienced as a `tightly unified' whole. While a quantum provides the basis for our subjective system for measuring duration, it also marks a natural division between two distinct ways of experiencing duration: one for long-lived and another for short-lived events. The theory proves fruitful, offering different explanations for various illusions that, as I explain, ought to be distinguished. What is it like to experience the duration of an event? For a long-lived event, it is the impression formed of how many quanta are involved in experiencing the event. For a short-lived event, it is how much of its quantum's duration the event strikes us as taking up. Because a quantum is the unit of felt duration for both short- and long-lived events, their felt durations are comparable, allowing for a unified system for measuring felt duration.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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