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about the project

The "philosophy of mental time" research project is part of the Science of Mental Time project, particularly the program "Linguistics and Philosophy", and of the Department of Philosophy of the College of Humanities and Sciences of Nihon University.

See the "results" page for an overview of publications and other (past) activities related to the project.


What is "philosophy of mental time"?

"Mental time" is the awareness of time: of past, present, and future. It involves aspects of memory, future-oriented concern, experience and expression of time, and so forth. "Philosophy of mental time" is the study of philosophical aspects hereof. Hence, philosophy of mental time is primarily concerned with experience and awareness of time (broadly conceived).
However, most philosophy of time (rather than that of mental time) is concerned with metaphysical aspects of time, which may seem to be an entirely different topic. Nevertheless, they are not completely separate. Philosophy grew out of the critical reflection on more practical concerns. Often, answers to those relatively practical questions (How to live well?, for example) turn out to depend on much "deeper" foundational issues: on metaphysics or epistemology, for example. The same is true in the philosophy of time (broadly conceived): metaphysical issues are often foundational, and as such restrict or even determine answers to philosophical questions that are closer to ordinary experience. For that reason, although we are primarily interested in mental time, we cannot completely ignore the metaphysics of time in this research project.

Read more about the philosophy of mental time in
this overview.


research themes

Research within the philosophy of mental time project is divided into three themes:

theme 1: time and language
(formal semantics of time, tense and aspect, and related topics; see "the expression of time in language")
theme 2: human existence in time
(this theme cover many of the topics mentioned in "experience of time", with the exception of language)
theme 3: metaphysics of time
(presentism vs. eternalism and related topics; see "metaphysics of time")

See also the "results" page.


project group members

Takashi Iida (Email)
research interests in the philosophy of mental time: formal semantics of time, tense and aspect.

Lajos Brons (Email)
research interests in the philosophy of mental time: time-awareness, self-consiousness and death; ethical aspects of time and death; metaphysics of time.




explanation of the project logo

The sand-timer (in the background) represents time. The eye in the foreground represents awareness. Together they represent awareness of time: mental time. The eye is turned sideways because that is what philosophers do: turning things around, looking at them differently. The spiral in the center of the eye is a reference both to spirals as symbols of time, sun, and movement in ancient Western cultures and to the oldest Chinese symbols of sun and day (out of which the character 日developed). The spiral and part of the eye together form a drop, representing movement - not just of the falling sand in the sand-timer, but as a key aspect of (experience of) time itself.



Website design and maintenance by Lajos Brons.