Windows on Time:
Unlocking the Temporal Structure of Experience
Each of our sensory modalities—vision, touch, taste, etc.—works on a slightly different timescale, with differing temporal resolutions and processing lag. This raises the question of how, or indeed whether, these sensory streams are co-ordinated or ‘bound’ into a coherent multisensory experience of the perceptual ‘now’.
In this paper I evaluate one account of how temporal binding is achieved: the temporal windows hypothesis, concluding that, in its simplest form, this hypothesis is inadequate to capture a variety of multisensory phenomena. Rather, the evidence suggests the existence of a more complex temporal structure in which multiple overlapping windows support distinct functional mechanisms. To aid in the precise formulation of such views, I propose a taxonomy of temporal window types and their characteristics that in turn suggests promising avenues for future empirical and philosophical research.
I conclude by examining some philosophical implications of multi-window models for the metaphysics of perception and perceptual experience more generally.
I presented versions of this paper at the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPP), Rijeka, the Centre for the Philosophy of Time’s AperiCPTivo seminar, University of Milan, and Institute of Philosophy, London.