Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 12, Issue 1, Fall 2007

Sean D. Kirkland
Pages 49-62

On Anti-Parmenidean Temporality in Aristotle’s Physics

Taking very seriously its anti-Parmenidean character, this essay locates a radically temporalized ontology at the heart of Aristotle’s Physics. We first concentrate on Aristotle’s discussion of kinêsis or ‘change’ as always between opposites, drawing the conclusion that the archai that govern and constitute a change, as opposites, cannot be present in the change itself. Thus, change is what it is by virtue of what is necessarily not present. We then draw the implications of this discussion for chronos or ‘time,’ defined in Book IV of the Physics as “the number of change.” Here, we uncover the ecstatic present moment of natural, changing things, a present constituted by its past and future, which is to say by what is emphatically not present.