present

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

present
specious present

Baader says that our time (cosmic time or the Scheinzeit) does not have a present. It has only a past and a future. Eternity has a past, present and future, and the infernal has only a past.

This does not mean that the eternal present should be conceived of in terms of a static “Eternal Now.” For Baader, as for Dooyeweerd, the eternal and supratemporal are dynamic.

Dooyeweerd is not as clear in denying a present to cosmic time. But his view of individuality structures seems to indicate that they are directed by a central moment of time:

What is a structure? It is an architectonic plan according to which a diversity of ” moments ” is united in a totality. And that is only possible so long as the different “moments” do not occupy the same place in the totality but are rather knit together by a directive and central “moment”. This is precisely the situation with regard to the structure of the different aspects of reality. They have an enduring structure in time which is the necessary condition for the functioning of variable phenomena in the framework of these aspects (“Introduction to a Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought” Evangelical Quarterly XIX (1) Jan 1947).

This idea of moments of time being knit together by a central and directive moment seems to indicate that the present existence of temporal things is directed from out of the supratemporal center. And temporal things do not even have existence except in relation to their supratemporal root. Furthermore, our acts come out of our supratemporal center, and we experience the passing of time only because of our supratemporal center. It is only because we have a supratemporal heart that we can have a sense of time at all. We express our selfhood in time in the mantle of functions [functiemantel]] (“Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën”; See also Het Tijdsprobleem in de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee).

Further research is needed as to whether the sense of the present is always related back to the central supratemporal in Dooyeweerd.

Dooyeweerd does refer to the “specious present.” But this is a reference to the work of William James and E.R. Clay. Dooyeweerd refers expressly to their work in the different psychical perceptions of time. the experienced duration varies in different individuals, and depends also on factors such as alcohol, tiredness or drugs (“Het Tijdsprobleem in de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee,” Part II 1940, p. 212).

Revised Nov 17/05

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