The Paradox of Phenomenal Observation
Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (1996), 27: 294-312
In this paper I will argue that when subjected to a rigorous analysis, the concept of event - the concept of something happening - is somehow incompatible with the concept of time - conceived of as duration. As a consequence of this, I will argue that what "really" takes place cannot take place in time. A "real" happening cannot have a duration. The sense in which I use "real" here, is the sense in which a strong Realism uses the term: real as opposed to phenomenal.
The argument which follows aims to prove that our thought cannot conceptualise real change, but that every time thought attempts to pick out change, it can only collapse into a description of further states. The argument will throw a light on the nature of our knowledge. It will show that ultimately, we cannot talk about what really takes place, but can only offer descriptions of processes in which change is assumed. Change can never be picked out as it really happens.
Download full article