With notions of subjective time (i.e. time as empirically inert) like those put forward by Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz and Kant, is there anything out there which speculates on the potential for a varied individual experience of time? Ideally anything in the same vein as the questions below.

  • Can someone be more or less perceptive of time, generally?
  • What kinds of implications does this have on the individual experience?
  • Also, if varied experiences of time can potentially exist, what kinds of implications does this have for complex societies (made up of many individuals having varied temporal experiences) where time regulates a majority of its activities?

On the other hand, has anyone instead made a case for why this should not be of any concern?

Thank you for the answers


Does Kahneman in 'Thinking Fast & Slow' count?

'Flow' states have been linked to ceasing to sense time passing.

Time is widely found to subjectively go faster with age. It's notable huge, epic experiences are had by DMT users in very short times, & that substance seems to be tapping in to a increasing-neuroplasticity and synaptogenisis pathway. We can picture this as 'opening the flood gates' to sensory experience, and it's notable children are also much open to experiences too. We might write-off so much as 'I already know how x will go' as we get old, that like a familiar car journey it gets kind of edited out of our memory. Psilocybin seems to have a similar potential among patients near-to-death, in helping them adapt to their new situation, and make the most of remaining time.

I'd note another factor with children, that 'opening the floodgates', having neurplasticity 'enabled', might risk a kind of painful boredom that adults tend to have forgotten about.

There are well known cultural variations. Within cultures, there's an interesting thing about whether 'move the event-date forward' means sooner, or later - people are surprisingly split on this. Can't locate research that mentioned that right now.

Lots of interesting experiments & discussion here: What we get wrong about time

The Kurzgesacht channel video 'The Egg' has an interesting take on time and identity.

Some relevant discussions on this SE:

Is there such thing as the present?

Is the human mind capable of distinguishing between time running forward and time runing backward?

Is perception of time completely subjective?

Could space be just our perceived reality instead of the true nature of the universe?

Is time more "real" than math and, if so, why?

How does biological evolution work in the block universe/b-theory of time?

Edited to add: Ok, these might get a bit closer.

Mindscape episode 140 | Dean Buonomano on Time, Reality, and the Brain

Mindscape Episode 80 | Jenann Ismael on Connecting Physics to the World of Experience

  • Thank you for all the links and words! However, my question is less about circumstantial variation in the individual's temporal experience (like Khaneman's) and more about our predominant experience of time as individuals and its disparities in collectivity. Thanks again, a lot of interesting stuff here (still reading through the links)! – Tomas Jun 17 at 14:54

Interesting question. 👍🏻

As an economist, we regularly aggregate individuals into collectives (called economies, or labor markets, or demand, etc.). Hence I can say something about that. Social psychology is the other field that sometimes actually rigorously aggregates individuals into collectives. I don’t know of any other field that does so, although they do of course talk about groups and members in qualitative ways in many field from politics to history to philosophy. But as for rigorous and even mathematical aggregating to the level that could account for the aspect you mention, no.

That said, even economics mostly and social psychology completely exclude personal experiences of time as primitives in any models. The exception is trading models where participants can react more or less quickly, but that’s pretty simple. We also have areas where other primitives would be AFFECTED by that. For example, someone’s utility for leisure (how much they value it) or disutility for labor. Or a consumer’s “willingness to pay” for reductions in waiting. Or even someone’s productivity would be affected. (Forgive all the sentences starting with conjunctions). As far as I know (and I might not know as it’s a big field), no one has looked exclusively at varying individual subjective experiences of the passage of time as it affects a group in any field at all, not just philosophy (although philosophy has its detailed qualitative interpretation of shared experience).

Many people dont realize that marketing is a very rigorous field of scientific study in academics. If theres any area where it has been done that I dont know about, Im guessing there. (Well Im sure some models have included for decades different preferences for waiting, as mentioned, but beyond that I mean).

Could be very interesting.

  • Appreciate the response. This is the right interpretation of the question. If there were any area considering this, I would have assumed something concrete in economics or sociology. If you come across anything relevant, would love to hear about it. Thanks again – Tomas Jul 23 at 14:34

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