Time and Self

Katia Saporiti


Self-awareness and self-knowledge seem to be intimately connected to our experience of time in many ways. In this paper I want to explore some of these connections. Our experience of time seems to be a necessary condition of our self-awareness, and self-awareness in turn seems to play a crucial role in enabling us to know some things about ourselves. At the same time our experience of time seems to constitute an obstacle to arriving at complete self-knowledge. Taking self-knowledge as something one gains through self-perception, there always seems to be something which escapes our experience: the moment of self-reflection. I would like to address the question how this bears on the relation between our concept of ourselves and our concept of time. Is there a possibility to account for some basic phenomenological facts about our experience of time and the awareness we have of ourselves in terms of a so-called deflationary conception of time, according to which time is not adequately represented as a fourth dimension but should be viewed as a non-spatial order in which things change? What we experience when we experience time are, according to this view, changes in three-dimensional things rather than events hypostatized as four-dimensional entities.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; philosophy of time; Wittgenstein Ludwig; A-series; B-series; consciousness; epistemology; knowledge; mind; Descartes René; self; time

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