Time and Illusion


When I was very young, I was brought up to believe the world is full of saints, angels, devils, and even ghosts. I never saw anything like them, other than other people, but almost everyone around me carried on as if they were a live possibility. Now I work on the edges of predominantly English-speaking and European academia, and none of these things are believed to exist. That makes sense to me — I’ve never had an experience which suggests that they do. However, many people — particularly older people — believe that they have. And I wonder how to treat that. In


Here is why I am interested in time and illusion: I wonder how we can know about the actual world from our perceptual experience. One of the challenges to holding that perceptual experience is a source of knowledge about the world is that such experience is often alleged to be mistaken and generally unreliable; it is alleged to be susceptible to many and profound illusions.

I am interested in whether or not perceptual experience is so unreliable — or, if instead, we have the wrong idea about what is happening in the allegedly illusory cases. We may have the wrong idea because we have the wrong idea about what it is that constitutes the actual world.

In relation to the constitution of the actual world, I am particularly interested in time and how things exist in time. as seen in my publications and on this site.  For example, in the European Journal of Philosophy, I argue that: given one position about reality in time (presentism), due to time-lag, our perception of real external things is frequently mistaken; there is no reason to think there is such a mistaken given another position about reality in time (eternalism).

My general view:

(a) Different positions on time lead to different positions on how the world is constituted.

(b) The different positions on how the world is constituted can set different conditions on whether or not a particular experience is accurate or inaccurate, e.g., is how it seems or an illusion.

Next (page 2 of 5 below): Knowing about the Actual World

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