Scientific Time and Temporal Experience

March 20, 2002 (Wednesday) / 5:30 pm7:30 pm

Penn Humanities Forum, 3619 Locust Walk

Scientific Time and Temporal Experience

Pragmatism's Contribution to the Search for a Synthesis

Sandra Rosenthal

Provost Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University

The problem of the relation between lived temporal experience and scientific time is an ongoing philosophical issue which has led to numerous and well entrenched radical solutions that in one way or another sever human temporal experience from the time of the universe. This presentation will offer a bird's eye view of the roots of the philosophical problem both historically and as it manifests itself today in major positions or movements that contour the contemporary philosophical landscape. It will then sketch the path to a possible solution from the perspective of classical American pragmatism, the philosophical movement encompassing the writings of Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, C.I. Lewis, and G. H. Mead. For pragmatism the roots of the problem are ultimately located in the understanding of time as discrete and confusions among the mathematical time of science, the time of the universe, and lived temporal experience.

Sandra Rosenthal is Provost Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Loyala University, New Orleans. Her areas of specialization include general American philosophy, American pragmatism, process metaphysics, philosophy of knowledge, pragmatism and continental philosophy, and business ethics.