Approaching an Understanding of Time

The Inordinance of Time -- by Shaun Gallagher

Highly relevant to followers of the action at "Tucson IV" -- the conference in two years that will continue scientific research "Towards a Science of Consciousness" -- will be a new book that is coming out in July this year by philosopher Shaun Gallagher, of Canisius College: "The Inordinance of Time," published by Northwestern University Press.

We're here now to praise this book ahead of time.

We estimate that Professor Gallagher is "on the bridge" in the tantalizing challenge that will face Tucson IV conferees in the year 2000--that of finding a unified, complete explanation of human experience. The completion of this effort will establish a bridge that brings "reductionists" and "non-reductionists" together in an understandable viewpoint of all this.

"'The Inordinance of Time' deals with Edmund Husserl's and William James's conceptions of time and consciousness. It is written from a perspective that combines Husserl's phenomenology and cognitive science," the author explains.

Gallagher informs MAM by email: "My position is that we need both neurophysiology and phenomenology, as well as various other disciplines, including a variety of arts and sciences, in order to interpret consciousness and approach a good understanding of human experience."

"I refer to this as a Joycean theory," he says. "In some sense a Joycean theory is not a single theory at all, but a collection of theories that approach conscious experience from a number of different disciplines: philosophy of mind, phenomenology, neuroscience, developmental psychology, neuropsychology, as well as literature and art. The challenge is to bring these various approaches together and to make them talk to one another, and perhaps to gain insights into conscious experience that can be made consistent."

Following Professor Gallagher's work with great interest (in the spirit of "beginner's mind"--as outlined in the accompanying school at this website), we are going to attempt to begin with an empty slate on the question of time, and hope that he can guide us from zero in a way that will bring us closer to the truth of this "weighty" matter.

For we've heard that our Universe is somehow integrated with space and time. And the "weighty" part of it is apparently all in the time. (Tarthung Tulku once said that "time is the embodying factor.") Except for the space, *every thing* in the universe appears to be "held together" in time--and, after all, appears to dissolve in time. as well. Time, it is said, changes all things. Yet we are going to set all this on the shelf, for now, and just see.

"The Inordinance of Time" may be a new beginning in changing the way consciousness scientists look at time. At least, we at MAM hope it is so. Philosopher Gallagher is a phenomenologist, a student of the work of Edmund Husserl, and a cognitive scientist in the field.

From things we have seen in his previous writings, we think that he's on to something that will--in "The Inordinance of Time"--make a "weighty" difference in the efforts at Tucson IV to find a meeting of the minds . . . about the mind, itself. But only time will tell.

-- John

June MAM cover page

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