Dec 29, 2009

Philosophical Phun - Time Perception :o)

We see colors, hear sounds and feel textures. Some aspects of the world, it seems, are perceived through a particular sense. Others, like shape, are perceived through more than one sense. But what sense or senses do we use when perceiving time? It is certainly not associated with one particular sense. In fact, it seems odd to say that we see, hear or touch time passing. And indeed, even if all our senses were prevented from functioning for a while, we could still notice the passing of time through the changing pattern of our thought. Perhaps, then, we have a special faculty, distinct from the five senses, for detecting time. Or perhaps, we notice time through perception of other things.

In giving an account of the various aspects of time perception, we inevitably make use of concepts that we take to have an objective counterpart in the world: the past, temporal order, causation, change, the passage of time and so on. Later events cannot affect earlier ones, as a matter of mind-independent fact, and this is why we do not perceive the future, only the past.

And yet, as humans, we envision the future, strive to meet that vision, go down scratching and screaming when that vision starts to slip out of our grasp.  Of course, there are also those who seem to live in the past, entrenched in what was, missing out on the possibilities of what could be.  It is easy to see what has been, but takes a different kind of vision to see what can be.  Are you a "What Was" or a "Will Be" person???  What better time of year to contemplate this than the dawn of a new one :o)

For the inspiration for this entry, go to the original Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


  1. Ouch! You just made my brain hurt.... I think it's starting to smoke!

  2. I tend to be a will be person. Often, my clocks do melt from all the time I wait for the "will be" thing to actually "be", but yet I do remain an idealist at heart and am always hopeful. My glass is always half full, even if I have to keep it that way by pouring more from the bottle every now and then.
    Happy New Year.

  3. Hmmm. Unlike Stan, I'm a 'glass half empty' guy.

    That said, I spend very little time thinking about the past and spend most of my time trying not to be overwhelmed by the future.

  4. Ken, I'm a "will be" person. I'm always focused ahead, sometimes way too far ahead for my own good.


Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)