Motion perception and the temporal metaphysics of consciousness

Henry Pollock, Samantha Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper defends a ‘punctivist’ conception of consciousness from recent attacks by Ian Phillips and Matthew Soteriou. As we intend it, ‘punctivism’ is the view that a subject’s experience over some interval is determined by their experiential states at each instant during it. Phillips and Soteriou both offer ingenious arguments purporting to show that the punctivist is unable to make sense of motion perception; and that only by adopting an ‘holistic’ conception - whereby a subject’s instantaneous experiences are determined by their experience over the interval - can we make sense of the puzzles such phenomena pose. We contend that both arguments invoke dubious claims, their proffered solutions come with highly controversial commitments, and, if we take punctivism seriously, it is difficult to see why the so-called puzzles should be puzzling in the first place. A punctivist model of motion perception is proposed in response, and objections anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-101
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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