234

Problem of Ontological Difference [331-332]


can be said that it is, the now, then time seems to belong wholly and completely to not-being and the non-existent (me on). Aristotle provisionally lets the question of the mode of being of time rest with this aporia while he goes on to discuss several traditional views relating to the mode of being as well as the essential nature of time.

One view identifies time with the motion of the universe. He tou holou kinesis,6 the whole of all beings, which moves, is time itself. In a certain sense this is still conceived mythically. But all mythology has its basis in specific experiences and is anything but pure fiction or invention. It cannot be accidental and arbitrary that in this mythical view time is identified with the motion of the universe. A second view tends in the same direction but is more definite. It says that time is he sphaira aute.7 Time here is equated with the heavenly sphere which, rotating in a circle, embraces everything and contains everything within itself. To understand this we must bring to mind the ancient picture of the world, according to which the earth is a disk floating in the ocean with the whole of the heavenly sphere surrounding it. In this sphere other spheres are layered one above the other in which the stars are fastened. The outermost heavenly sphere embraces everything really exists. It and its rotation are identified with time. According to Aristotle the basis for this interpretation is as follows: en te to chrono panta estin kai en te tou holou sphaira;8 everything that is, is in time; but everything that exists is also inside the revolving vault of heaven, which is the outermost limit of all beings. Time and the outermost heavenly sphere are identical. There is something of experience implicit in this interpretation too: time in connection with the rotation of the sky and time also as that in which all beings exist. We say indeed that what is, is in time. Even if, says Aristotle, we have to disregard these simple-minded analyses, nevertheless there is a legitimate appearance supporting the view that time is something like motion, kinesis tis. We speak of the Aux of time and say that time elapses. For kinesis Aristotle also says metabole. This is the most general concept of motion; literally it means the same as the German Umschlag, a change or tum [sometimes sudden, into its opposite]. But by its nature motion is en auto to kinoumeno, in the moving thing itself or always there exactly where the thing in motion, the kinoumenon or metaballon, itself is. Motion is always in the moving thing; it is not something that floats as it were above the thing in motion; rather, the moving thing itself moves. Motion therefore is always where the moving thing is. But time, says


6 Ibid, 218 a 33

7 Ibid, 218 b 1 ["The sphere itself." Trans. R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye, in The Works of Aristotle (Ross). vol. 2. All further references to the Hardie and Gaye translation of the Physica are to this volume in the Ross edition.]

8 Ibid, 218 b 6f