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The Varieties of Presence: Hierarchical Levels of Temporal Integration

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image of Timing & Time Perception

We propose a hierarchical, three-level analysis of the present, in terms of simultaneity of events, experienced presence, and an extended mental presence containing the narrative self. The literature on the philosophy, psychology and neuroscience of time consciousness does not precisely distinguish these varieties of presence: first, a functional moment of perception in the range of milliseconds defines what is simultaneous and successive. Below a certain threshold events are processed as co-temporal. Secondly, the experienced moment of two to three seconds is related to a temporal-processing mechanism enabling conscious experience of the present moment. Thirdly, the continuity of experience is formed by working memory in the range of multiple seconds leading to the sense of mental presence over time, generating a temporal platform for the narrative self. These varieties of presence help solve puzzles pertaining to duration and simultaneity.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Philosophy, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA; 2: 2Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Wilhelmstr. 3a, 79098 Freiburg, Germany


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