Friday, April 3, 2015

Using Time in Aristotle to Compare Kant and Heidegger - Part III

In our last part (Part II) I discussed Kant's analysis of time and illustrated how he develops Aristotle's.
Kant's basic outlook from which he analyses time concerns the possibility of representations as simultaneous and sequential. The experience of time that conditions the temporality of objects is not a concept, but a mode of representing per se. It is infinite because it has no dimension, not even the character of dimensionality (in which case it would either be definite or indefinite). Time is constitutive for our experience of objects.
Aristotle's outlook was from the perspective of how time comes into our awareness as change. Here the structure of time was illustrated as having a beginning middle and end. Kant also looking in this direction, but because he had already characterized time as form he considered this a particular determinateness of objects in time.
So far we have seen three different ways of dealing with time: first, time as a form; second, time as a duration between a beginning and end; and third, time as units derived from motions (or changes) that happen with regularity (clock time). We have seen time go from something bounded (In Aristotle) to something unbounded (in Kant). In Heidegger an entirely different attitude is used in approaching the situation which does not take its guidance from things.
In Being and Time, Heidegger sets out from the very start with the explicit goal of analyzing Dasein, and then characterizing Dasein in terms of its particular temporality. The analysis of Dasein requires an outlook that is different from Kant and Aristotle, yet could be described as containing these other outlooks as possibilities for the entity being analyzed (Dasein).
Heidegger's analysis of time can be characterized in relation to Kant in a rough (non-complete) way: while Kant's outlook assumes the concern with objects as candidates for theoretical activity, Heidegger is concerned with the temporality wherein there is a possibility of concerning oneself with objects in this way. (Of course, Kant does not only deal with objects as theoretical, but this is the basis of his explcit interpretation of time.) Even though this characterization of temporality in Heidegger is incomplete, it suits my purposes here of relating Heidegger's outlook to that of Kant and Aristotle.
We now have a fourth manner of considering time.  Rather than time being a basis for objects with magnitudes, or events over certain amounts of time, temporality potentiality of Dasein to be itself.  We come towards ourselves in the possibilities we see for ourselves, and there are never times in which these possibilities aren't there to approach.  In Heidegger, past, present and future are all together in an interrelated manner.  This is not unique in that all the 'directions' of time are together, but the manner in which these are divided.  the future event isn't a unit of time that hasn't happened yet (a limitation on time as form of appearance), rather the future is differentiated by our becoming what we are according to our possibilities.
We project possibilities and advance towards ourselves; we drag the past along with us in our state of mind; we encounter the world in its presence. These characteristics of our existence do not happen at different times, our outside of each other, but are all characterizations of the structure of the same temporality that we undergo (that we live). Temporality is not different from the very ways in which we are enacted towards ourselves (where we are our very own possibilities).
I still have not carried through the comparison through Aristotle, and this will be best to leave for the next part.  While we have roughly characterized time for Aristotle, Kant and Heidegger, we can turn back to the projects within which they were working out their understanding of time. Kant and Heidegger can be seen in relation to Aristotle's project in the physics.   The goal of this comparison is not to reduce Heidegger and Kant to Aristotle, but to see how Aristotle's outlook on time can help us move between these thinkers in our own understanding.

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