Jay Lampert, Simultaneity and Delay: A Dialectical Theory of Staggered Time

Radical Philosophy 176:66 (2012)
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In Simultaneity and Delay: A Dialectical Theory of Staggered Time, the Canadian philosopher Jay Lampert challenges theories that define time in terms of absolute simultaneity and continuous succession. To counter these theories he introduces an alternative: the dialectic of simultaneity and delay. According to Lampert, this dialectic constitutes a temporal succession that is no longer structured as a continuous line, but that is built out of staggered time-flows and delayed reactions. The bulk of the book consists of an attempt to give a conceptual order to the ‘unsystematic analyses of simultaneity and delay sprinkled through the history of philosophy’ (2). This conceptual analysis leads us through ancient (Plato and Plotinus), medieval (Origen) and late modern issues (Kant, Hegel and Lessing), as well as scientific discussions (Einstein, McTaggart), and culminates in the central chapter of the book, which attempts to show ‘how the problems of the great simultaneity philosophers - Husserl and Bergson - might be solved by the great delay philosophers - Derrida and Deleuze’ (147). In this review, I will focus on three points. 1. The problem of synchronization. 2. The problem of synthesis. 3. Theproblem of localization.

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Martijn Boven
Leiden University


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