Time, Identity, and Future

An interdisciplinary conference on the relationships between time, personal identity, and the future of humanity.

Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, Grindavik, Iceland: 6th-8th July, 2015

(Accommodation at IcelandAir Hotel Keflavik)

Despite being aware (and reminded on a frequent basis) of the difficult future we face (both as individuals and as whole, including future people) if we don’t curb our consumption, our numbers, our carbon footprints and so on, in general we tend to fall back into our old ways. This is despite the fact that the future people might include ourselves and our family and offspring. Why is this? Is it not deeply irrational? Why do we privilege the now (present selves) and discount the future (and future selves)? Of course, there has been much work conducted on impulse control, self-regulation, temporal discounting and on the identity over time of selves, but rarely are these approaches brought together in the study of the pressing problem of humanity’s future. Time is deeply entangled with the problem, and so this conference aims to bring together researchers from a diverse set of fields, all engaged in some way with our behaviour over time, our stance towards time, or the nature of time in the universe, to think of new ways of integrating knowledge both to get a better grasp on the sources of humanity’s projected problematic future, and to possibly serve up some initial strategies for resolution.


Monday 6th July

Shuttle from IcelandAir Hotel Keflavik -> Blue Lagoon Clinic hotel. Time: 5:30pm.

Keynote lecture (6:00pm-7:00pm): Walter Mischel (Columbia University) “Taking the future into account: How mind and brain enable impulse control  (sometimes)” – followed by a reception (7pm) and dinner (7:30pm).

Tuesday 7th July

Shuttle from IcelandAir Hotel Keflavik -> Blue Lagoon Clinic hotel. Time: 8:30am.

  • 9:00-10:00. Eve Isham (UC Davis) “Perceived Timing of Intent”
  • 10:00–11:00.  Ian Phillips (University of Oxford) “Our Experience of Time”
  • 11:00–11:30. Coffee break.
  • 11:30–12:30. Lera Boroditsky (UCSD) “Time in Language and Mind”
  • 12:30–13:30. Lunch break.
  • 13:30–14:30. Mariam Thalos (University of Utah) “The future is a foreign country: The role of the future in the present”
  • 14:30–15:30. Laurie Paul (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) “Modeling Preference Change Under Radical Epistemic Transformation”
  • 15:30–16:00. Coffee break.
  • 16:00-17:00. Marya Schechtman (University of Illinois at Chicago) “A River Flowing into Somewhere: Personal Unity and Time”
  • 17:00-18:00. Craig Callender (UCSD) “The Flowing Self”

Dinner at the Lava Restaurant (Blue Lagoon Clinic hotel) at 7:30pm [return shuttle at 9:30pm]

Wednesday 8th July

Shuttle from IcelandAir Hotel Keflavik -> Blue Lagoon Clinic hotel. Time: 8:30am.

  • 9:00-10:00. Chris Fuchs (UMass Boston University): “QBism, a Universe that Comes into Being in Spots and Patches?”
  • 10:00–11:00. Devin Terhune (University of Oxford) “The Neurocognitive Basis of Individual Differences in Time Perception”
  • 11:00–11:30. Coffee break.
  • 11:30–12:30. Hal Hershfield (UCLA) “How Mental Time Travel Affects Meaning and Behavior”
  • 12:30–13:30. Lunch break.
  • 13:30–14:30. Chrisoula Andreou (University of Utah) “Why Temptation?”
  • 14:30–15:30. Meghan Sullivan (University of Notre Dame) “Time Bias and Non-Hedonic Value”
  • 15:30–16:00. Coffee break.
  • 16:00-17:00. Huw Price (Trinity College, Cambridge): “CSER and the Turing Project: Progress and Prospects”
  • 17:00-18:00. Open discussion: The Future of the Study of Time and Humanity – opportunities, questions, suggestions, …

A shuttle will take us back to the hotel at 6:15pm. A second shuttle could be arranged for those wishing to use the lagoon after the conference, before dinner. Dinner: please make your own choices this evening. Good places in Keflavik are: http://rain.is and http://vitinn.is/menu/.

Free shuttles run from the IcelandAir hotel to the airport.

The conference is run by the Centre for Time, University of Sydney, and the project New Agendas for the Study of Time (funded by the John Templeton Foundation).

For further information, please contact Alex, Dean, Kristie, or Pierrick (preferably email all of us at this late stage). Klara (klara@bluelagoon.is) is arranging airport shuttles and rooms, but do CC us if you have any uncertainty.

Note the IcelandAir Hotel is 500m from the KEF airport you will arrive at from overseas.

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