The Augustinian Impact on the History of Time

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:183-196 (2001)
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In Being and Time, Heidegger claims that the history of the concept of time bears an Aristotelian stamp. In this paper, I dispute that claim. Instead, I argue that the history of the concept of time is primarily Augustinian. To support this claim, I demonstrate that Augustine’s theory of time is a quantitative theory of time, while Aristotle’s theory of time is a qualitative theory of time. Since most theories of time in the tradition are quantitative, it seems unlikely that they derived any significant influence from Aristotle’s theory, as Heidegger claims. But there are significant parallels to Augustine’s theory. This is true for both of the major theories of time: those found in Classical Mechanics and those found in Kant. I close with some speculation as to why Heidegger makes the claim he does concerning the history of the concept of time



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