Temporality in Modern Thought



Professor of Philosophy, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


The concept of temporality requires that science be divided into two categories: Natural and human. Unlike natural sciences, human sciences are temporal or historical one s,i.e. there is a necessary link between their historical happening and the time of their occurrence. Temporality in modern time has its origin in Descartes philosophy. How ever, it developed through German philosophy from Leibniz’s to Heidegger’s. This perspective follows that every cultural event is confined to its specific time. Temporality is among the features of modern thought. So there is no trace of this phenomenon, in Greek philosophy the principal sources of which are plato’s and Aristotle’s works, since time, according to plato, is just a shadow or an image of eternity and according to Aristole it is one of the accidental categories. In contrast, the concept of temporality involves the principality or essentiality of time. In modern era, Descartes – whose philosophy has Christian leanings- declared that each moment or instant has its own principal reality and enistentially each moment is independent from another. Immanuel kant also declared that time had a direct and efficient role in perception and concept in the fields of sensibility and understanding. In the contemporany age, temporality has a firm link with historicity. This link is one of the features of the monadology of Leibniz, since the monads of Leibniz turn from potential characteristics into actual ones in an unending process throughout the time. Hegel’s philosophy added the concept ‘dialectic necessity’. Hegel declared that historical events could not have occurred at any time and in any mood other than the time and mood in which they already happened. This temporal and historical tradition of German philosophy was handed down to Dilthey. Benefiting from this tradition, he combined the two concepts of historicity and the critique of historical reason. Finally, Heidegger in his book “Being and Time” declared the mood of being as essentially temporal, and temporality as the substance of being.


دکارت (1361)، تأملات در فلسفۀ اولی، ترجمة احمد احمدی، تهران: مرکز نشر دانشگاهی.
صانعی دره‌بیدی، منوچهر (1376)، فلسفۀ دکارت، تهران: انتشارات الهدی.
همو (1382)، فلسفة لایب‌نیتس، تهران: انتشارات ققنوس.
هگل (1378)، عناصر فلسفۀ حق، ترجمة مهبد ایرانی‌طلب، تهران: انتشارات پروین.
وال، ژان (1375)، مابعدالطبیعه، ترجمة یحیی مهدوی، تهران: انتشارات خوارزمی. 
Aristotle (1979), Metaphysic,trans. Ross, Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.
Beiser, Frederick C. (1993), "Hegel Historicism", in The Cambridege Companion to Hegel, Frederick C. Beiser (ed.), Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.
Dilthey, Wilhelm (1989), Selected Works, Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, vol. 1.
Heidegger, Martin (1962), Being and Time, trans. Macqurrie and Robinson, New York: Harper & Row.
Hegle (1977), Phenomenology of Spirit,trans. Miller, Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.
Kant, Immanuel (1973), Critique of Pure Reason,trans. Norman Kemp Smith, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Rickman, H.P. (1972), Dilthey, in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Paul Edwards (ed), New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, pp.403-407.