Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Time as Experience


Henry Bergson's seminal Time and Free Will distinguishes scientific knowledge of ourselves from our own experience of ourselves. The division here is between time as a spatial concept, a succession of separate and distinct events, and time as a living experience, a flow or a stream, uniting the present with the past and the future. According to Bergson, this flow resists any kind of measurement. The notion of 'time experience' was to be highly influential, used by Marcel Proust, among others, in À la recherché du temps perdu.

In his work on phenomenology, Edmund Husserl deepened Bergson's work by analysing exactly how time appeared in consciousness. Under the influence of both Bergson and Husserl, in 1927 Martin Heidegger advanced the notion that Dasein-subjective existence-has its being in all three temporalities; its past, its present and its possible futures.

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