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(2016) Phenomenology and science, Dordrecht, Springer.

"Intrinsic time" and the minimal self

reflections on the methodological and metaphysical significance of temporal experience

Jack Reynolds

pp. 23-44

Philosophy of time is notoriously perplexing terrain, even if we bracket for the moment the complexities of contemporary physics. As Thomas Metzinger puts it: "the phenomenal texture of time is a paradigmatic example of a feature governed by the "principle of evasiveness.' It is a feature that instantly recedes or dissolves if introspective, cognitive, or even attentional processing is directed at it" (Metzinger 2004, 153). Thousands of years earlier, St Augustine also famously captured this when he said: "What then is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me: but if I am asked what it is and try to explain it, I am baffled" (Augustine 1992, book 11, ch. xiv). Augustine claims to understand time from within lived experience and what we might today call the first-person perspective, but he also admits he is baffled if asked to theorise about time metaphysically and offer an explanation (rather than a description) of this lived time for a third party and from an atemporal perspective, as the question "what is time?" seems to necessarily involve. I think we remain heirs to this neo-Augustinian dilemma, both in regard to the philosophical significance to be accorded to our lived experience of time, and in regard to the connected issue of the role of the first-person perspective in philosophical theorising more generally. At the very least, it is directly relevant to the question of the relationship between phenomenology and naturalism, and between phenomenology and empirical science, which are my concerns here.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-51605-3_2

Full citation:

Reynolds, J. (2016)., "Intrinsic time" and the minimal self: reflections on the methodological and metaphysical significance of temporal experience, in J. Reynolds & R. Sebold (eds.), Phenomenology and science, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 23-44.

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