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Does any moment other than the present exist? Are all moments of time (past, present, and future) equally real or are some moments privileged? Does special relativity constrain the views of time that it is reasonable to endorse? How does the way we experience time (both as individuals and as members of a particular cultural) influence our daily lives? In this subject we will examine various accounts of the nature of time (presentism, eternalism, growing block theory), as well as of our experience of time (i.e. our "temporal phenomenology"). Far from being a mere esoteric philosophical matter, which view of time we endorse and which temporal phenomenology we experience has far-reaching consequences. Special emphasis will be placed upon exploring connections between philosophical accounts of time and ways of conceiving time that have been influential in other disciplines. This inter-disciplinary approach to understanding time will be particularly relevant to students whose studies involve consideration of events unfolding over time (e.g. the reign of a queen, the evolution of linguistic practices over time) or inter-personal/inter-cultural differences in the perception of time (e.g. does how quick people are to anger vary across cultures? Are there systematic difference in our perception of time that mirror the systematic personality differences evaluated in the Myers Briggs personality test?)
Intended learning outcomes
A student who completes this subject will have:
- enhanced knowledge of the philosophical, social, and scientific issues surrounding time;
- an ability to reflect upon their own research work in a broad, interdisciplinary way;
- enhanced engagement with leading-edge research at the intersection of science and the arts.
- the capacity to contextualise research within an international corpus of specialist knowledge;
- an advanced ability to engage in critical reflection, synthesis and evaluation of research-based and scholarly literature;
- an advanced understanding of key disciplinary and multi-disciplinary norms and perspectives relevant to the field.
Last updated: 29 July 2022