Unreal Nature

April 8, 2018

In the Light of Action

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:48 am

… From a practical point of view, the future is not an object of narrative but of the will.

This is my second post from the introduction to Time and Freedom by Christophe Bouton, translated by Christopher Macann (2014). Please see last week’s post to get his ‘strategies’ 1, 2, and 3:

[ … ]

4. … the recognition of the autonomy of natural time cannot fail to raise the problem of its relation with human time, the time of consciousness.

… The ontological approach adopted by Heidegger consists in saying that time is the horizon of any comprehension of being, of the being of Dasein, human existence, or that of any other beings, entities readily available to us, “ready-to-hand” (zuhanden), or merely present for us, “present-to-hand” (vorhanden).

… Let’s admit that the praesens — the ecstatical horizon of the present — designates the Temporality of the thing ready-to-hand. It remains to be seen what might be the two other ecstatical horizons governing the future and the past, which, by definition, cannot be reduced to the praesens. Surely the future and the past project being in its non-presence, enveloping being with a halo of absence?

[line break added] But Heidegger dodges the problem: “In order not to confuse unduly our vision of the phenomena of temporality, which moreover are themselves so hard to grasp, we shall restrict ourselves to the explication of the present and its ecstatical horizon praesens.” The ontological approach remains incomplete, even if it does not lead to an impasse.

5. … The aporetic approach consists in recognizing the powerlessness of philosophy to resolve the problem of time, whose solution has therefore to be sought outside its own domain. In Ricoeur’s eyes, the thread permitting Ariane to get out of the maze of the “aporetics of temporality” is narrative (historical or fictional). In its historical and literary forms, narrative is the “guardian of time,” it unifies our temporal experience and makes it possible for us to develop “a third-time,” one that bridges the gap between lived time and cosmic time. Relating an event is reinscribing a fragment of lived time in the universal calendar of the time of the world.

… Is the first and most familiar experience we have of time really that of narrative? We might be permitted to question this. In one way or another, narrative refers to the past. Narrative identity is retrospective, fabricated out of accomplished actions which it inevitably follows upon.

… Before relating one’s life one has to live it. But this first stage of mimesis 1 [one] implies, among other things, a “pre-understanding” of the temporality proper to action. This is the way Ricoeur invokes the “temporality of human action,” a “properly practical temporality,” which precedes and makes possible the time related in the narrative. What does this all mean?

… By approaching time from the standpoint of narrative, the temporality of action remains a blind spot, constantly presupposed but never made fully explicit.

6. In this book I propose to follow up this unexplored path, one that addresses the problem of time not from its quantification, not from subjectivity, from nature, from being, or from narrative but in the light of action, ,and from that by which it is conditioned: freedom.

… I do not deal with the classical issue of the existence of freedom, but only with the relation of human freedom to time. From a practical point of view, the future is not an object of narrative but of the will.

My previous post from Bouton’s book is here.

-Julie

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