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On Time

Organizing Committee:


Any sensation or experience that we have can be understood only on the basis of time, only if we locate the occurrence within its temporality.  Yet, we never have an experience of time itself; time is never an object present in our world that we can intuit or conceive of.  Something like this paradox led Hegel to call time the nonsensuous sensuous. What, then, can we actually know of time?


It seems that time, much like Being, can only be known through its difference from these phenomena (time never manifests itself as such, within the phenomenal realm).  Time is only intelligible on the basis of some difference, the changes in our world that lead us to intuit a temporal progression of cause and effect, which in turn requires time as the ground of its identity and continuity.   We expect something to support the flux of our world, and yet time is only this flux; Aristotle said as much when he defined time as the "number of motion,” and Einstein said the same when he defined time as what we measure with a clock.


We will hold a series of meetings examining how time shapes the form of expression in a variety of discourses, and how these arts and sciences play with and within their peculiar temporality.  We will begin with a meeting where we consider the representation of time in the history of metaphysics, by looking at Derrida’s Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money.  Derrida locates Heidegger’s lecture “On Time and Being” on the cusp of this metaphysical tradition.  Heidegger points out, among the many paradoxes of time, that time is nothing temporal.  What is temporal arises and passes away within time, while time itself does nothing such.  As with Being, Heidegger cautions against saying "time is," as such a locution presumes what can never be a given, that time is, that it could ever come to presence as a being.  He employs an idiomatic German expression, es gibt, it gives, which would translate to the English "there is" (it gives time/there is time).  For the same reason, we must avoid asking the question "what is time," and inquire instead - Time: what gives?


Lookin forward. See yall tonight. ;->

sorry we'll miss you at On Time, but we'll catch you at another class, Christine. Good luck with the play!

I am so bummed I can no longer attend! I wrote a play and it's being staged on the 25th! I didn't expect to make the showcase but I just heard back that we did.. I apologize - and I hope you teach this again/want to hear how it goes. Now that I am somewhat connected to The Public School I want to explore other classes as well. Best of luck!

Great question, Patrick--

Yes, the class will in fact be our first held in the new home of The Public School New York: 155 Freeman, Greenpoint Brooklyn. It is just a couple blocks north of the Greenpoint Ave stop on the G train, and near Manhattan Ave.

We will be sharing this space with two other organizations, too" Triple Canopy and Light Industry.

We're so pleased to welcome everyone!

Is the venue 155 Freeman St. in Greenpoint?

Hi Christine,

I'm glad you'll be able to make it! See you there (and likely at future SMASHH meetings as well)


I am so excited that Maia told SMASHH (a happy hour organized by NYU Courant Instructor Tom LaGatta that stands for socio-mathematics happy hour - we meet on Thursdays at Botanica Bar) about this. I can't wait to be a part of it. I haven't read Derrida or Heidegger since college and really miss it. See you on the 25th!

jonotrain's picture

Hey Prof. Morgan,

That sounds great! It wouldn't be necessary to commit to coming to all the sessions - I think I found your e-mail address on the New School web site so I'll contact you to discuss more details.


Cool! I'd be into both.

Hi - I just discovered The Public School today, and I don't really know all the protocols. I'm not sure I can commit to coming to all the meetings of this class, but I teach physics at The New School, and I'd be quite happy to host a session on time in physics... either focusing just on Einstein's relativity or a broader discussion of the "arrow of time" in a thermodynamic and cosmological sense.



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