Ancient concepts of time - Philosophy

Ancient concepts of time

In systems of ancient natural philosophy almost all the basic concepts of time are represented. Thus, the philosophers of the Ionian school formulated the foundations of the substantial concept; in the doctrine of Heraclitus is presented a dynamic concept; Parmenides and his followers have designated the opposite - a static concept in which time is said: "It was not in the past, it will not be, but everything is in the present."

Particularly should be noted the concept of Democritus. Like the Ionians, he adheres to the substantial concept of time, but is the first consistent opponent of the cyclical concept. For him, the destruction of the world is not a return to the starting point, but a transition to a new, completely different world. Since an infinite number of such worlds are assumed, there is no logical necessity to think of the movement of time as perpetuating eternally along the same circle. The time of Democritus is discrete, it consists of insignificant small and further indivisible moments. These discrete moments are moments of a single for the entire universe of the present time, either all events related to the same instant are simultaneous.

Plato , taking on the whole the relational concept of time, distinguishes between being eternal and being arising and disappearing. There are different times in them: static in eternal being and dynamic in transient. The same division is shared by the Neoplatonists, although their views are closer to a substantial rather than relational concept.

The Platonic idea that different "types" are realized on different levels of being. time (static at the highest and dynamic at the lowest), developed in the religious philosophy of the Middle Ages and in modern existential philosophy.

Aristotle refuses Platonic distinction of two types of time and postulates a single universal time. However, recognizing that time is divisible into parts (past, present and future), it seems to bring it closer to other divisible (material) objects. Thus, he tends to a substantial concept, although he notes that time exists in a slightly different sense than other (divisible) objects. The present, he believes, is only the disappearing line between what is no longer, and what does not yet exist. But then, what is composed of a non-existent, "can not to be involved in the existence of the & quot ;. Overcoming this paradox is possible if, admitting the divisibility of time to the past, present and future, to recognize them all as existing in the same sense and attitude.

Augustine follows the general line of the Platonic tradition. He distinguishes time (the attribute of the world) and eternity (attribute of God). Time is dynamic - it is constantly moving from past to future; eternity is static - it is immovable, immutable and always completely in the present. The past and the future is not absolute nothing: they always exist, "although in an incomprehensible way". And, wherever and however they may exist, it is clear that where they exist, they constitute the present. Therefore, Augustine believes, one can not speak about the past, present and future of the time: the expressions "present present" and "present future". Aristotelian paradox, such thus, is overcome. The past, the present, and the future, continuing to be treated as parts (divisions) of time, differ no longer in their own characteristics, but only because of the presence in us of special psychic abilities: "These three times exist in our soul," argues Augustine; nowhere else, the present is the memory; just the present - contemplation; present of the future - expectation & quot ;. Consequently, the passage of time is not a physical, but a psychological reality. In other words, the same present successively becomes the hope, contemplation , and memory - this is the time movement by Augustine.

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