William James in search of the “minimum of dynamism” in temporal experience

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This paper attempts to decipher the complexity in William James' analysis of temporal experience. In particular, it focuses on James' attempt to conceptualize the idea of a minimal unit of temporal experience. The difficulty in conceptualizing this experiential feature (as well as temporal experience as a whole) is due to a duality embodied therein: although every unit of temporal experience seems to consist of successive phases, it is nonetheless something unified. James hoped to bridge these two aspects of temporal experience by insisting that relations are experienced in a direct manner. A relation in itself becomes the intersection that connects the unity of the flow with the multiplicity of its successive phases. But what exactly is the type of relation embodied in temporal experience? An examination of James' hesitations on this issue can help us in understanding the depth of the problem, as well as enriching our perspective on the historical background for one of its contemporary resolutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-48
Number of pages18
JournalPhilosophical Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


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