motion in the horizon of its earlier and later, the definition of time seems to be a trivial tautology: time is the earlier and later, thus time is time. Is it worthwhile to busy ourselves with a definition that bears on its brow, as it were, the crudest sort of logical error? Nevertheless, we should not cling to the words. Certainly earlier and later are time phenomena. But the question remains whether what they mean coincides with what is meant in the subject of the definitory statement "time is time." Perhaps the second term "time" means something different and more original than what Aristotle means in the definition itself. Perhaps Aristotle's definition of time is not a tautology but merely betrays the inner coherence of the Aristotelian time phenomenon, that is, of time as commonly understood, with the original time which we are calling temporality. As Aristotle says in his interpretation, time can be interpreted only if it is itself understood again by way of time, that is, by way of original time. Therefore, it is not necessary to translate the πρότερον and ὕστερον in Aristotle's definition of time by the indifferent before and after—even though that has its own specific and proper validity—so that their time character comes out less obviously, in order to avoid the appearance that Aristotle is defining time by going back to time. If the nature of time is in some measure understood, then Aristotle's interpretation and definition of time must be so interpreted, in conformity with its initial approach, that in it what he takes to be time must be construed by way of time.
Anyone who has once seen these interconnections must plainly demand that in the definition of time the origin of time in the common sense, of time as we encounter it immediately, should come to light from temporality . For its origin belongs to its essential nature and thus demands expression in the definition of this nature.
If we permit the earlier and later to remain in the definition of time, this does not yet show how accurate the Aristotelian definition of time is, how far what is counted in connection with motion is time. What is the meaning of "that which is counted in connection with motion encountered in the horizon of the earlier and later"? Time is supposed to be what is encountered in a specifically directed counting of motion. The specific direction of vision in counting is indicated by the κατὰ to πρότερον καὶ ὕστερον. What this means will be unveiled for us if we first of all take πρότερον and ὕστερον as before and after and show by means of our interpretation what Aristotle means by this, so that the translation of πρότερον and ὕστερον by earlier and later is justified.
Time is supposed to be something counted about motion, and in fact something counted that shows itself to us with respect to the πρότερον and ὕστερον. We must now clarify what this means and in what way we experience something like time with respect to the before and after. Time is
14 Aristotle, Physica, 219b 3f.