The time of activity

Continental Philosophy Review 39 (2):155-182 (2006)
Abstract
This essay analyzes the time of human activity. It begins by discussing how most accounts of action treat the time of action as succession, using Donald Davidson's account of action as illustration. It then argues that an adequate account of action and its determinants, one able to elucidate the ``indeterminacy of action,'' requires an alternative conception of action time. The remainder of the essay constructs a propitious account of the time and determination of action. It does so by critically drawing on Henri Bergson's notion of duration and Martin Heidegger's notion of the teleological dimensionality (past, present, and future) of existence. Whereas Bergson provides valuable insights into the continuity of activity, Heidegger illuminates the determination of action. Combining their insights yields an account of the time of activity that supplements succession with a nonsuccessive temporality: the time of activity is an overlapping continuum of action performances each of which is structured as coming towards an end starting from a motivating state of affairs. The essay concludes with brief thoughts on what justifies calling the nonsuccessive dimensionality of existence a kind of time.
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