Lay summary
The project has two subparts, A and B. The starting questions of subproject A are metaphysical: how should time be thought of, what is the relation between change and time and what does it mean for an object to persist in time. Different, opposing views have recently been formulated on these issues. The main question for the project would now be to understand how our experience of time, and of object extended in time, is related to and impinges on our metaphysics of time. There surely is a metaphysical question concerning the nature of experience and of its extension in time. But this question cannot be addressed without bearing in mind the fact that experiences are precisely about objects extended in time and in some sense even simply about time (awareness of the passage of time). The question then is not simply how experiences are extended in time, but how does their way of being temporally extended impinge on the way we experience objects as extended in time. Depiction, as used in art, may prove useful in this respect.
If subproject A moves from a metaphysical perspective, subproject B moves rather from an epistemological one. This is rather unsurprising, since experiences are generally not considered to be extended in space as much as they are in time. The central question might thus be formulated in broadly kantian terms: what features of perceptual experience of spatially extended, orientated and distributed objects allows for an objective conception of space? Contrary to dominant kantian orthodoxy, and in line with a rather phenomenological approach, the project intends to insist on the feature of perceptual experience that do not depend essentially on judgement and yet contribute to its rational foundation in the quest of knowledge. Issues at the centre of such an approach concern perceptual constancy, the relation between perception and imagination and, most prominently, the integration of different sensory modalities, mainly visual, tactile and auditory. Just as much as in subproject A, the questions raised in subproject B can profit from considerations concerning the pictorial representation of space and spatial properties. and so one cannot simply apply the results from one side to the other one. In fact, we expect very different results and we hope that our research will contribute to a better understanding of the nature of that difference and on the way that difference is to be accounted for in a unified theory of perceptual experience.