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On Time
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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?

Comments

I brought that book up. It has been hugely influential on my thinking since I read it about 5 years ago. If you want a quick basic over view at the link below you'll find a video done by dutch TV (in english with dutch subtitles) of Julian Barbour explaining the general theory he puts forth in his book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKsNraFxPwk

He also has a website: http://platonia.com/ where you'll find more information about his research and other books his published.

I brought that book up. It has been hugely influential on my thinking since I read it about 5 years ago. If you want a quick basic over view at the link below you'll find a video done by dutch TV (in english with dutch subtitles) of Julian Barbour explaining the general theory he puts forth in his book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKsNraFxPwk

He also has a website: http://platonia.com/ where you'll find more information about his research and other books his published.

jonotrain's picture

Hey Ianewallace,

I don't remember Prof. Morgan mentioning a book - but one of the other class participants mentioned "The End of Time" by Julian Barbour.

-Jonathan

Big thanks to Jonathan and all!
A wonderful first time Public School experience.

I would be very interested in continuing the discussion about social and cultural perspectives on time and how we articulate our understanding of its presence and dominance in the form of narratives, art works, and creative work in general. Though often equally as abstract and intangible as the advanced physics (in my mind), but just as "real" and "present" in my own relationship to the partner in crime Time. I would also like to discuss how this sort of representation/exploration of our understanding of time relates to the necessary foundation of the concept of time (Jonathan mentioned the Principle of Sufficient Reason). Does this interest anyone else? Do these questions make sense or seem valid?

I found the article "Comrades of Time" by Boris Groys interesting: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/comrades-of-time/

Looking forward to the future :-)
-Megan

jonotrain's picture

Hey guys!

Thank you all for coming - I really enjoyed our discussion. I'll let you all know as soon as we have a topic and time for the next class. And anyone interested in proposing or leading a discussion should let me know.

I think a time travel class would be rad! I've already contacted a couple of friends who I think would be interested in teaching it, including Sarah who was at the discussion last night.

As for space and mass, I think we'll be hearing more about them no matter what. I'd be most interested to hear some of the threads of yesterday's discussion followed up more directly, though. Of course, if any future facilitator wants to steer their class in one of those directions, I'm all for it. It leads me to think of many excellent possible class names, such as: "critical mass"

Hope to see you all soon!
-Jonathan

jonotrain's picture

How bout that - Justin time.

"his crime wasn't taking time, it was giving it away"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SFpxrxX9QY

Thanks for a great class this evening!
Did anyone happen to write down the title of the book that Prof. Morgan mentioned somewhere toward the beginning of the class as a possible text for future discussions? I'd definitely be down for delving a little bit deeper into the physics side of what we touched on tonight...

Thanks for a stimulating class tonight --

After what Dave Morgan mentioned about physics-- that it is the relationship of time, space and mass (but the difficulty lies in attempting to define these terms and their interrelatedness) -- this may be too cute of an idea, but perhaps the next class could be "on space" -- (and then even "on mass" to follow)

as you are inaugurating your new space in time by populating it with masses, perhaps this "grounding" would be an interesting way to begin your lease...

the discussion on time of course splinters into so many different discussions, one could of course continue to follow one trajectory, or just move on to an equally theoretically difficult subject.

jonotrain's picture

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to let everyone interested in the time class know that we have a few contributors participating in tonight's discussion (7 PM at 155 Freeman in Greenpoint). I'm very excited that Nicola Masciandaro, David Horvitz, Dave Morgan, Sarah Dziedzic, Jackson Moore, and possibly some others will be joining us and sharing viewpoints from their different fields (Including, but not limited to: literary criticism, theoretical physics, music, and oral history).

Hope I see you all there!

-Jonathan

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