Does The Future Exist?

Endel Tulving and Karl K. Szpunar

in Mind and the Frontal Lobes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791569
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919215 | DOI:
Does The Future Exist?

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Future exerts a powerful influence over human action. This is yet another instance of the curious circumstance that something that does not exist in physical reality has an effect on something that does. This interesting phenomenon is the topic of this chapter. The resolution of the apparent paradox entailed in the phenomenon lies in the realization that there exist two realities--one physical and the other mental--and that while future does not exist in the physical reality it does in the mental reality. We discuss the nature of the two realities and the relation between them. Mental reality, also known as the mind, depends on that part of physical reality that constitutes the brain. Mind and brain are different manifestations of the same basic, as yet unknown, “stuff. ” Mind (mental realty) depends on the brain (physical reality) but it also transcends the brain in the sense that nothing that exists in the mind also exists in the brain. Mind, including conscious awareness of subjective aspects of time--past and future--governs much of human action. The study of the relation between the mind and and the brain, and the search for the common stuff that they are “made of, ” constitute central objectives of cognitive neuroscience.

Keywords: existence; past; future; mental time travel; subjective time; physical reality; mental reality

Chapter.  8009 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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