Broad’s Accounts of Temporal Experience


  • Oliver William Rashbrook University of Warwick



Two extremely detailed accounts of temporal experience can be found in the work of C. D. Broad. These accounts have been subject to considerable criticism. I argue that, when we look more carefully at Broad’s work, we find that much of this criticism fails to find its target. I show that the objection that ultimately proves troubling for Broad stems from his commitment to two principles: i) the Thin-PSA, and ii) the ‘Overlap’ claim. I use this result to demonstrate that we can learn two extremely important lessons from Broad’s work on temporal experience.


The first lesson is that there is a structural problem facing any account that commits to these two principles. This is significant given that a number of recent accounts of temporal experience are so committed.The second lesson is that the problem facing these accounts stems only from commitment to the Thin-PSA and ‘Overlap’, rather than to commitment to a particular conception of how experiences are to be individuated. This, I argue, gives us reason to reject Tye’s recent claim that the problems facing accounts of temporal experience can be dissolved simply by making stipulations about how experiences are to be individuated.




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