The Now and the Relation between Motion and Time in Aristotle: A Systematic Reconstruction

Apeiron 51 (3):279-323 (2018)
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This paper reconstructs the relationship between the now, motion, and number in Aristotle to clarify the nature of the now, and, thereby, the relationship between motion and time. Although it is clear that for Aristotle motion, and, more generally, change, are prior to time, the nature of this priority is not clear. But if time is the number of motion, then the priority of motion can be grasped by examining his theory of number. This paper aims to show that, just as numbers are generated by the soul, time is not presupposed by motion, but emerges through the soul’s articulation of motion. Time is co-constituted by the soul and motion. The now is the key to understanding both the contribution of motion and soul to the being of time. The now is part of the soul’s articulation of motion, and sets the stage for an act that distinguishes a unit from its underlying motion. The now, then, sets up an abstraction by which the soul generates the temporal number from motion. Reconstructing this account of abstraction allows us to formulate more strongly Aristotle’s claim to the ontological dependence of time on motion. The paper then gives a systematic overview of the relationships between the now and number in order to address the question of whether the now might be extended. It closes with an examination of the possibility that motion depends on time, and how universal time is possible.
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Archival date: 2017-11-21
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