History as the Ontology of Time


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History as the ontology of time requires to be understood what time is. Time is the transformation of future into the past by the choices in the present. History should be grounded on that understanding of historical time, which would include the present and future rather than only the past


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History as the Ontology of Time:

History as the Ontology of Time Highlights

Vasil Penchev:

Vasil Penchev Bulgarian Academy of Sciences : Institute for the Study of Soci e ties and Knowledge vasildinev@gmail . com 13:15-13:45, May 30 , 2015, Room GAITIS Venue: European Cultural Centre of Delphi, In: “Ontology and History”‖ Conference 29–31 May 2015, Delphi, Greece

Key words: :

Key words: History Ontology Time Choice “ Dazeit ”

The thesis: :

The thesis: History as the ontology of time requires to be understood what time is Time is the transformation of future into the past by the choices in the present History should be grounded on that understanding of historical time, which would include the present and future rather than only the past

Comment 1: History and what time is:

Comment 1: History and what time is History unlike others sciences both natural and humanities is immediately referred to time Here is how: Historical being is being in time The way of time to be understood deeply and philosophically or misunderstood predetermined the opportunity for history to be able at all to be thought philosophically What time is reflects directly on what history is One of the most often met misunderstandings of history interprets it as historiography, i.e. as a record of some events in a chronological series. It rests on the understanding of historical time as the past only

Comment 2: Time and choices:

Comment 2: Time and choices In fact, the core of history, what creates it, are the considerable historical choices The past is that modus of time, which excludes choices in principle Indeed, the past is always well-ordered and this can be only a result of choices. However those choices might happen only in the present, which is forthcoming future to the historical events at issue The present and its choices are only what can reconcile these so different modi of time: uncertain future and the well-ordered past History created by those choices unifies future and the past necessarily. Otherwise, i.e. when time is “broken”, the chaos comes, and history is “dead”

Comment 3: History of future:

Comment 3: History of future One can object that the phrase “history of future” is nonsense, a mistake in definition as it combines inconsistent terms That objection rests on the same implicit equating of historical time to the past History of future means the reference of the past to some unity, some relevant whole, to which the entity, the history of which is meant, belongs The choices, which create history, reveal creatively that unity, which allows of time not to be broken, but to continue and thus of the history itself However that continuation is not automatic, it needs historical choices and efforts to be realized

Five arguments: Argument 1:

Five arguments: Argument 1 One can distinguish historical time from physical time The former unlike the latter is not continuous, homogenous, even, or uniform It consists of the separate points of crucial historical choice Any single choice of those concentrates the wholeness of the historical process in order to be able to be chosen just that historical pathway, which conserves that wholeness Paul Tillich has coined the term of Kairos for that ontological and historical time being opposed to “ Chronos ” associated with physical time

Comments to argument 1:

Comments to a rgument 1 Time reflects the double being of anything: both being by itself and as an inseparable constituent of some whole Both physical and historical time keep the structure of the above relation They differ from each other in the nature of both whole and part, which time refers to each other: Physical time refers to physical being, historical time only to human being As Heidegger coined the term “ Dasein ” in a sense different from “Sein” or “ Seyn ”, one can utilize the neologism of Dazeit to designate the concentration of a whole historical process in a crucial historical choice Choice is both leap into a future state and continuous and even more or less smooth to that state conserving the historical process as a whole

Five arguments: Argument 2:

Five arguments: Argument 2 The discrete points of crucial choice are connected to each other by longer or shorter periods of continuous historical motion However the structure of historical time includes both leaps and continuous processes as one and the same essence of crucial historical choice The discreteness of historical time generates “waves” of long runs (Charles Pierce) or “longue durées ” (Fernand Braudel and the Analles school ) The period of each of them is different, but much longer than the duration of human life

Comments to argument 2:

Comments to argument 2 The long runs originate from the dualistic nature of historical process concentrated in the crucial historical choices: both discrete and continuous The waves of long runs order in a relevant temporal chronology all possibilities, opportunities, and options, which any historical leap reveals All alternatives in a choice are ordered as the a smooth series of a historical trajectory The crucial historical choice generates the teleology of a future state That future state has ideal being unlike the material being of the present state: Thus time is what is able to link and unify the material and ideal The ideality of future state implies a reverse sequence necessary for the future state to be achieved in a continuous and smooth way accomplishing all alternatives of the choice so that the chosen one to be ultimate one

Five arguments: Argument 3 :

Five arguments: Argument 3 History refers to the past in tradition, i.e. to a limited and finite part of time, which is past In the past, there are a variety of well-distinguished entities such as states, peoples, civilizations and anything else, each of which can possesses a proper history often inconsistent or partly consistent to all the rest So , history as the ontology of past time turns out to be a set of histories One can research that set for universal or general laws Thus history can be represented more or less as some logic of history or even as Reason in history after Hegel

Comments to argument 3 :

Comments to argument 3 History, which refers only to the past, interprets implicitly itself only as material Thus history, in which time is only the past, excludes in fact the time, the essence of which is to relate the past and future, the material and ideal to each other So , that history, being only historiography, does not and cannot consider the alternatives of a historical choice It is not able to see how any counterfactual course of history has been realized in the actual one as a phase and stage of it Thus history is necessarily divided into many histories of many historical entities, which can share only some common logic or “Reason in history”

Comments to argument 4:

Comments to argument 4 All entities such as states, nations, civilizations and all the rest is unified by their common present and future They are distinguished by unique and single past A universal viewpoint to history understood as the past has elaborated by Hegel: Its essence is necessary logical in a wide sense as he demonstrated convincingly Nevertheless that approach is not relevant for future is thought to be similar to the past and its continuation though indeterministic Future and the past are fundamentally divided by the present only where both choice and human choice can exist and thus history seen as created by significant historical choices

Comments to argument 4:

Comments to argument 4 Future and ideality are what can unify any historical entities, the past and material are what divide them Thus, historical time relates to each other the unity and all divisions Historical choices constituting historical time therefore follow and thus share a general direction of unification One can verify that direction in the course of the past in traditional history as historiography What will happen when and where the unification dictated by time reaches the natural extensive boundaries of globalization? One can guess at least a few directions of historical time for its “end” is nonsense: to space, to children, to higher mammals extensively or to “super-humans” intensively

Five arguments: Argument 5:

Five arguments: Argument 5 One can accept that understanding of time, which allows of generalizing the history from only the past to all time including the present and future Then history as the ontology of time can be naturally defined as the history referring to the present and future not less than to the past That new understanding of time should not understand future as the past but to keep their fundamental difference Only then, they could be equated to each other as two modi of one and the same being: the separated being by itself and it in the whole, to which it belongs according its essence

Comments to argument 5:

Comments to argument 5 History should describes both facts and possibilities. It need a new philosophical understanding of time for the common description of them. Particularly, this means a common description of the materiality of the past and ideality of the future Then history can be concentrated on the present and on the way for it to be created as well History is invariant to choice, nevertheless that the choice constitutes history even when the latter is well-ordered history of the past as a joint result of all choices in the present That invariance to choice originates from the joint description of future and the past, of ideality and the material, of possibilities and the facts rather than from its traditional concentration exceptionally on the past


Conclusions: History rests immediately on what time is Time should be understood as a relation of the one and the same being in two mody : by itself and as an inseparable constituent of a relevant whole That approach stresses on the present and choice, which can be accomplished only in the present therefore reconciling absolutely uncertain future and the well-ordered past That understanding of time implies for history to be generalized from the historiography of the past facts to a relevant joint description of past facts, present choices, and future possibilities


References: Only classical and thus well-known papers by : Annales School Braudel Hegel Heidegger Pierce Tillich


Thank you for your kind attention looking forward to your comments or questions!

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