Craig A. Callender


Perhaps the most compelling argument for the tensed theory of time- and in particular the idea of a global monadic present or now--is and always has been that it is the best explanation of temporal experience. Most detensers admit this, but suggest that arguments from logic, conceptual analysis or physics undermine the argument from experience. However, it is time detensers stood up and fought back on the experiential front as well. Fascinating recent work in the psychology of time perception suggests that the mind takes a surprisingly active role in "deciding" our subjective present. This fact can be coupled with evidence that the subjective present is highly contingent on environmental variables and varies across subjects, that philosophy and cognitive neuroscience are proposing mechanisms to explain the subjective present, and that a global monadic present is hard to reconcile with our background theories. Taken together, this evidence seriously undermines one's confidence that our experience of the present is an experience of time rather than a feature of experience in time.