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The Now and the Passage of Time

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From Physics to Psychology

image of KronoScope

The notion of the “present moment” has intrigued philosophers, physicists, and psychologists alike. Here we review the literature in the physics and the neuropsychology of the “now” in order to connect those two yet unrelated fields. Such a unitary perspective helps us to explain why there cannot be an objective and absolute “now” and why we naïvely tend to believe in a cosmically extended present. In particular, invoking the recent identification in the Cognitive Neurosciences of various temporal integration windows underlying an individual’s temporal experience within physical spacetime enables us to qualify in a more precise way in what sense the now, as frequently claimed by philosophers, is mind-dependent.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Communication and Media Studies, Roma 3 University ; 2: Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health Freiburg


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