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(1998) Self-awareness, temporality, and alterity, Dordrecht, Kluwer.

My time and the time of the other

Rudolf Bernet

pp. 137-149

Speaking about time is difficult. Even Augustine, a former professor of oratory, begins his account of time with a sigh of despair: "Quid est enim "tempus'? Si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio."1 Where does this difficulty come from? In the first place surely because speaking about time is itself temporal, that is, it presupposes and requires time. One cannot make time the object of an abstract study because one cannot raise oneself above time, cannot take up a place from where one could observe time sub specie aeternitas. A second difficulty, to which Augustine also alludes, has to do with a necessary connection between time and forgetting. Knowing presupposes retention and recognition, while time is something that passes away, disappears, never to return. Indeed, the advance of time not only makes us forget our previous experiences, time also makes us forget time itself Even and precisely when we succeed in remembering something from the past, we continue to forget time. Even when we take time in hand, relate it to the acts and aims of our life and thus set time into a personal story, time slips away from us.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-9078-5_8

Full citation:

Bernet, R. (1998)., My time and the time of the other, in D. Zahavi (ed.), Self-awareness, temporality, and alterity, Dordrecht, Kluwer, pp. 137-149.

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