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Time Felt, Time Understood

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The experience of time's passage is intimately familiar, the idea of time is strangely elusive. Mature, healthy humans find it is easy to act consistently with the notions of tomorrow, yesterday and today.Yet, explaining what is meant by future, past, and present, without assuming prior familiarity with time, seems impossible. The asymmetry between the obviousness of the experience of time, and the unobviousness of the idea of time, has been a source of perplexity to reflective thought for at least fourteen centuries. This essay sees the sources of that asymmetry in the evolutionary structuring of the cognitive capacities of the human brain. It draws attention to certain conflicts rooted in the differences between those cognitive capacities- copresent in the mind- and notes the importance of the humanities in the management of the conflicts.


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