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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Undergraduate Course: Time and the Mind (PHIL10240)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWe will examine how the methodologies of philosophy and psychology have been deployed to investigate how we - human subjects - experience and think about time, and how we conceptualise our lives and experiences as themselves unfolding over time. Given the wide interest in time and temporal cognition across disciplines, our topics will also overlap with research undertaken in metaphysics, ethics, and economics.- Students will be expected to engage critically with the main arguments and findings of the selected texts, and to articulate their own views of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these proposals.
Course description This module begins by discussing problems concerning our distinctly temporal experiences - i.e., experiences of motion and change - looking at historically significant contributions (Locke, Reid, James) and contemporary points of debate (Prosser, Phillips, Grush). This will broadly range over points of debate concerning our experience of, and the profile of our experience in, time; students will benefit from an multidisciplinary focus, as relevant philosophical and empirical work will be drawn upon. While remaining on the topic of 'temporal experience', we will consider how appeal to aspects of our temporal experience has been put to work in debates in aesthetics - concerning the presentation of appearances of motion/change in still and moving images. In the second half of the course, consideration will be given to issues of inter-temporal choice, concerning temporal asymmetries in hedonic preferences, their (ir)rationality, and competing explanations of their origins. Again, multidisciplinary work in philosophy, psychology, and behavioral economics will be discussed. Finally, a couple of weeks will be spent discussing influential appeals to temporal experience in the context of metaphysical debates about time, requiring students to connect work concerning temporal experience with other relevant work in philosophy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Presentation or other creative project - 10%
Midterm Essay - 30%
Final essay - 60%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate core skills in philosophy, including the ability to interpret and engage with philosophical texts, to evaluate arguments, and to develop one's own critical ideas in response.
  2. Evidence an ability to work creatively, and to integrate research from different fields into a cohesive and piece of work.
  3. Acquire an understanding of some of the central problems in philosophy and psychology of temporal experience and cognition, and of leading approaches to resolving them.
  4. Analyse these problems and the strengths and weakness of various approaches made to resolving them.
  5. Develop and clearly express their own novel evaluation of the prospects of multidisciplinary research on select topics.
Reading List
Week 1, Introduction: Methodology, History, and Context
James, W. (1890/1983) The principles of psychology. Repr. Cambridge: HUP.
Dainton, B. (2010) Temporal consciousness. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.). The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy Andersen, H., & Grush, R. (2009) A Brief History of Time-Consciousness: Historical Precursors to James and Husserl. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 47: 277-307.

Weeks 2-4, Experience of and in Time
2. Reid and The Snapshot Theory of Temporal Experience
Locke, J. (1690/1975) An essay concerning human understanding (P. H. Nidditch Ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. [Ch. 14, Bk II]
Reid, T. (1785/2002) Essays on the intellectual powers of man (D. Brookes & K. Haakonssen Eds.). Edinburgh: EUP
Chuard, P. (2011) Temporal experiences and their parts. Philosophers' Imprint, 11: 1-28.
Phillips, I. (2011) Indiscriminability and experience of change. The Philosophical Quarterly, 61: 808-827.

3. The Specious Present: Retentionalism vs Extensionalism
Dainton, B. (2008) Sensing Change. Philosophical Issues, 18: 362-384.
Grush, R. (2007) Time and Experience. In Müller, T. (Ed.), The philosophy of time. Klosterman: Frankfurt.
Lee, G. (2014) Temporal experience and the temporal structure of experience. Philosophers' Imprint, 14: 1-21.
Phillips, I. (2014) The temporal structure of experience. In Lloyd & Arstila (Eds.), Subjective time: The philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of temporality. Cambridge: MIT Press.

4. Dynamic Snapshot Theories and Their Limitations
Prosser, S. (2016) Is Experience Temporally Extended? In his Experiencing Time, Oxford: OUP.
Arstila, V. (2018) Temporal experiences without the specious present. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 96: 287-302.
Shardlow, J. (2019) Minima Sensibilia: Against the Dynamic Snapshot model of temporal experience. European Journal of Philosophy, 27: 741-757
McKenna, C. A. (2021) Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Motion Aftereffects and the Dynamic Snapshot Theory of Temporal Experience. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 12: 825-845.

Weeks 5-7, Inter-Temporal Choice and Time-Biased Preferences
5. How time-biased are we?
Parfit, D. (1984) Different Attitudes to Time. In his Reasons and persons. Oxford: OUP.
Lee, R., Hoerl, C., Burns, P., Fernandes, A. S., O'Connor, P. A., & McCormack, T. (2020) Pain in the Past and Pleasure in the Future: The Development of Past-Future Preferences for Hedonic Goods. Cognitive Science, 44: e12887.
Greene, P., Latham, A. J., Miller, K., & Norton, J. (2021) Hedonic and non-hedonic bias toward the future. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 99: 148-163.
Latham, A.J., Miller, K., Norton, J., & Tarsney, C. (2021) Future bias in action: does the past matter more when you can affect it? Synthese, 198: 11327-11349.

6. Time Biased Preferences and Their (Ir)Rationality
Sullivan, M. (2018) Understanding Temporal Neutrality, in her Time biases. Oxford: OUP.
Nguyen, A. (2022) Future-bias and intuition shifts between moments and lifetimes. Inquiry.
Dougherty, T. (2011) On whether to prefer pain to pass. Ethics, 121: 521-537.
Greene, P., & Sullivan, M. (2015) Against Time Bias. Ethics, 125: 947-70.

7. Temporal Biases, Agency, and the Utility of Memory
Lee, R., Shardlow, J., O¿Connor, P., Hotson, L., Hotson, R., Hoerl, C & McCormack, T. (2022) Past-future preferences for hedonic goods and the utility of experiential memories, Philosophical Psychology, 35: 1181-1211.
Morewedge, C. (2015) Utility: Anticipated, Experienced, and Remembered. In Keren and Wu (Eds.) The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making. Blackwell Press.
Stokes, P. (2017) Temporal Asymmetry and the Self/Person Split. Journal of Value Inquiry, 51: 203-219.
Shardlow, J., & Lee, R. [draft] Future Bias and the Utility of Memory.

Weeks 8-10, Experience, Time, and Temporal Passage
8. Arguing from Experience i. Thank Goodness That's Over
Prior, A. N. (1959) Thank goodness that's over. Philosophy, 34: 12-17.
Maclaurin, J., & Dyke, H. (2002) Thank goodness That's Over
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Throughout the course, the interdisciplinary focus will require:
1. personal development. Students will draw on their initiative and experience to expand upon the diverse readings, with a confident and reflective approach being encouraged.
2. research and enquiry. Students will develop skills in research and enquiry, seeking to identify and creatively tackle problems across disciplines, seeking out opportunities for learning and progress.
3. communication. Students will further develop their communicative skills, to enhance their understanding of the topics covered and the context of the different research strands, and their ability to clearly express their independently developed ideas, to engage effectively with others.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jack Shardlow
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