All we can be certain of is consciousness in the present. What can we conclude about consciousness in the past? Can we even conclude that it existed? Whenever someone presents "evidence" of having consciousness in the past, what they really mean is they have a memory in the present of some past experiences. If one totally forgets some past experience, what can we say ontologically about the consciousness of that experience?

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    Since having anything in the past really always means having some trace of it in the present that trace is all the evidence one can have anyway. It doesn't have to be a memory. Having a diary entry you wrote yesterday is evidence that you were conscious then, albeit not 100% conclusive. But then, nothing is. We can not be 100% certain that we have consciousness in the present either, it might be an illusion, physicalists say it is. Even having the concept of consciousness depends on having memories of what it means, and they can be manipulated. Time can be an illusion, and there is no past. – Conifold Jul 10 '20 at 22:23
  • @Clyde Frog: My question isn't whether consciousness in the past is the "same" as consciousness in the present. My question is whether consciousness in the past even exists. – Jason Jul 11 '20 at 12:39
  • Hegel addresses this directly pretty early on in phenomenology of spirit – Christian Chapman Jul 12 '20 at 18:02

Even if a sleeping man is not conscious about anything around him, pointing to him we never say that he is unconscious. A person may be more cautious. But we never say he is more conscious. We can't say that a blind/deaf/dumb man is less conscious than a normal man. So the number of sense organs doesn't enhance consciousness.

From your question it is clear that you treated consciousness as something seen, heard, touched, smelt or tasted before. But consciousness is something that is behind all these. Consciousness is incomparable. So nobody can explain it. Can you experience time in your deep sleep? Why? You feel time only when there is a second thought. Since consciousness is necessary behind your thought there is no time behind that consciousness. So it has only is-ness. You'll realize that itself is enough for the past and the future since there is nothing to change in the case of consciousness.


Jean Paul Sartre identified Consciosness with nothingness so you must search about the notion of Time in nothingness

consciousness is nothingness is typically understood as meaning either that consciousness is not itself, that it is not its objects, that it is not its past, or that it is some sort of state of affairs.

This can be a good reference

1.The Past, Present and Future of Time- Consciousness: From Husserl to Varela and Beyond. Shaun Gallagher

  1. Does Consciousness Exist Independently of Present Time and Present Time Independently of Consciousness? February 2012 Open Journal of Philosophy 2(01):45-49 DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2012.21007 Birgitta Dresp, Jean Durup

3.Consciousness as a State of Matter, Max Tegmark. https://arxiv.org/abs/1401.1219

Brentano, realised that our consciousness of now must reach out forwards and backwards into time, and his solution was that imagination enabled this transcendence of the now - imagination is at work, rather than any perception of future or past. The obvious problem with this is that imagination clearly has a different phenomenological character to imagination, which like memory is re-presentational, unlike the presentation of perception - “memory and evocation have a mode of appearance that is qualitatively different from nowness” .

How soon is now?: Heidegger and a critique of the Neurophenomenology of Time Consciousness September 2005 DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2053.8649 Thesis for: MA in Philosophy Luke Williams


Space-time in pyramid of Reality sits in lowest level , the mountain top of Reality is Space-time-consciousness See this paper

John Smythies, Space, Time and Consciousness




Does consciousness exist independently of present time and present time independently of consciousness? B Dresp-Langley https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01054000/document&ved=2ahUKEwiVg6PYmePqAhUpyoUKHcBfAegQFjAIegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw1uhSWQzE02j1jV_4ymqZlJ

Consciousness is characterized by a temporal structure and seems to involve a successive flow - the often-used metaphor of a stream of consciousness. This temporal structure of experience necessarily shapes the way that we are conscious of the world, and raises especially interesting problems concerning the experience of temporal objects. The idea of experience as a streaming process also raises questions about the unity of consciousness and self over time.

Consciousness of Time and the Time of Consciousness S.Gallagher


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