Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 5, No 2 (2009)

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Temporal Foundations in the Construction of History: Two Essays

Frederic Will


The two essays included here are parts of a longer study of temporality, and the genesis of the “religious.” The first part, “Multiple Nows,” depicts a universe in which a present to past relation is establishable from any and every point in consciousness.  The resulting perspective differs from that offered by the linear timeline of chronological history. Remembering where I put my glasses is an historicizing act, as fully as is remembering when the Battle of Zama was fought or who won there. On this alternate view of temporality the genesis of the historical perspective is the historicizing subject. The second essay, “The History of a House,” places the observer before an historical structure, then asks where the historicity in the structure is. We discover that the historicity is put there by the observer/subject. This discovery resembles our earlier discovery that historicity is generated by an infinite sequence of nows. The two essays converge on a description of historical cognition as subject-generated.

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