THE TEMPORAL DIMENSION OF ACTION

22 March , 2018

WORKSHOP

THE TEMPORAL DIMENSION OF ACTION

The Sidney M. Edelstein Center at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Levy Building
Edmond Safra Campus
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem 91904
Israel

Organizers
Angelica Kaufmann (HUJI) and Arnon Cahen (Ben Gurion)

When we act we act in time. Various creatures, human beings along with many other species, are capable of producing and expressing complex intentional structures. Behavioral manifestations of such complex structures suggest that such creatures possess temporal understanding (Hoerl & McCormack, 2011). That is, such creatures seem able to represent temporal properties such as duration, succession of events, causal links between events, and to represent time as passing. Representing time as passing is an essential component in action planning. Thus, providing an account of how some species represents time is a crucial component in any investigation of their capacity for action planning. Nonetheless, discussion of the nature of temporal understanding, of temporal representation, and how it is incorporated within action planning, is still at its infancy, both within such sciences as cognitive and comparative psychology and within the philosophy of action.

The purpose of this workshop is to address the temporal dimension of action, by bringing together an interdisciplinary group of researchers with interests in action theory and/or whose work relates to action planning in human beings and other species.
Following are some suggestions for possible topics:
· Does action require temporal representations?
· Does temporal experience require temporal representation?
· Is a sense of self necessary to representing time?
· Is temporal experience conceptual or non-conceptual?
· What are the relations between memory, intention, and time?
· How could the temporal dimension of action be incorporated into contemporary action-theory?
· What is the role of the temporal dimension of action within dynamical vs. computational models of cognition?
· To what extent is our understanding of the temporal dimension of action hostage to our best physical theories of the nature of time?
· How does the Presentism/Eternalism debate bear on our conception of temporal experience?

SPEAKERS

Dan Zakay (IDC Herzliya) http://portal.idc.ac.il/faculty/en/pages/profile.aspx?username=zakay.dan

Meaning, Temporal relevance, Temporal Uncertainty and Action
A model is presented which explains the role of temporal dimensions in the planning and execution of action.
The suggestion is that the meaning of ongoing reality is constantly produced by perceptual and cognitive mechanisms. The meaning indicates, among other things, the importance ( temporal relevance) of time and the degree of knowledge about time (temporal uncertainty) related to a certain situation and the activities required for coping with it. Based on the temporal meaning, activities are designed to be long or short, immediate or remote, etc. This also determines the amount of resources available for performing the action itself, since this is dependent on the amount of resources consumed by information processing related to time.
The model is demonstrated via some examples like fight-flight behavior ,performance under time stress or under high cognitive load, and others.
It is claimed that the model can help in understanding the course of behavior in different situations and under different contexts and environmental conditions.

Ayelet Landau (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) http://www.landaulab.com/ayelet-landau.html

Cognition and neural oscillation
How do brain rhythms inform the quest of unraveling the organizing principles of cognition? Neural signatures can entail rhythmic temporal structure. Such patterns have been known and measured, invasively, as well as noninvasively, for almost a century. What is the functional relevance of brain rhythms? What type of mechanisms can brain rhythms support? My talks will provide an introduction to neural oscillations and discuss their functional relevance and potential to understanding cognition.

Yair Levy (Tel Aviv University) https://english.tau.ac.il/profile/ylevy#anchor_publications

Is Intending a State of Mind?
The overwhelmingly predominant view in philosophy of action sees intending as a mental state, specifically a plan-like state. Recently an alternative view, defended by Michael Thompson and others, has been gaining grounds. On this view, intending to V is seen as imperfectively taking steps (however minimal and preliminary) towards having V-ed successfully. This paper rejects both the orthodoxy and Thompson’s view. After criticizing both, the paper proceeds to set out and defend the novel position whereby acting with an intention to V is understood disjunctively, as (roughy) either one’s V-ing intentionally or one’s performing some kind of failed intentional V-ing, where the two disjuncts share no common state of intending. Instructive structural parallels between this disjunctivist conception of intending and the more familiar disjunctivism about perceptual experience are pointed out. The view is also shown, unlike its rivals, to successfully capture both prospective and present intention.

Olla Solomyak (Van Leer Institute) http://polonsky.vanleer.org.il/dr-olla-solomyak/

Two senses of self: Some connections and analogies between self- and temporal-experience.
In this paper, I explore some connections between temporal experience and the sense of self. I start by presenting an analogy between self- and temporal-experience, particularly between two notions of the present and two corresponding notions of the self. I argue that distinguishing between these two notions of the self and the associated aspects of self-experience can shed light on both the nature of self-experience and its relationship to our experience of time. I then explore some potential upshots of these connections for our understanding of ourselves as agents interacting with the world in time.

Yuval Dolev (Bar-Ilan University) https://biu.academia.edu/YuvalDolev

The specious present: its merits, and why it should be abandoned.
Over the last decade or two the specious present, which was introduced to the philosophical world at the turn of the 19th century, has become very popular with philosophers of time. It is being championed in the influential works of Barry Dainton, and it is invoked by many eternalists. Indeed, for eternalists, the specious present is an effective problem-solver. It figures in accounts of central aspects of the experience of tense and passage, and so contributes to the harmonization of dynamical experienced time with real time which, for the eternalist, is static. However, close examination reveals severe flaws in this concept, and raises questions as to whether it can facilitate integrating temporal experience into an eternalistic setting. Establishing that the specious present theory is not viable underscores the contention that to account for experienced time, a real present, which cannot be found within physics but is not merely psychological, is required.

Program

09:00- 09:30 Introduction

09:30-10:15 Dan Zakay

10:15-10:30 break

10:30-11:45 Ayelet Landau

11:45-13:00 Olla Solomyak

13:00-14:00 lunch

14:00-15:15 Yair Levy

15:15-15:30 break

15:30- 16:45 Yuval Dolev