Problem of Ontological Difference [361-362]

now is not a pure point but is intrinsically transition, the now, by its essential nature, is not a limit but a number. The numerical character of the now and of time in general is essential for the fundamental understanding of time because only from this does what we call intratemporality become intelligible. This means that every being is in time. Aristotle interprets "being in time" as being measured by time. Time itself can be measured only because on its part it is something counted and, as this counted thing, it can itself count again, count in the sense of measuring, of the gathering together of a specific so-many.

At the same time the numerical character of time entails the peculiarity that it embraces or contains the beings that are in it, that with reference to objects it is in a certain way more objective than they are themselves. From this there arose the question about the being of time and its connection with the soul. The assignment of time to the soul, which occurs in Aristotle and then in a much more emphatic sense in Augustine, so as always thereafter to make itself conspicuous over and over again in the discussion of the traditional concept of time, led to the problem how far time is objective and how far subjective. We have seen that the question not only cannot be decided but cannot even be put in that way, since both these concepts "object" and "subject" are questionable. We shall see why it can be said neither that time is something objective in the sense that it belongs among objects nor that it is something subjective, existent in the subject. It will tum out that this manner of putting the question is impossible but that both answers—time is objective and time is subjective—get their own right in a certain way from the original concept of temporality. We shall try now to determine this original concept of temporality more particularly by going back to it from time as understood in the common way.

b) The common understanding of time and the return to original time

Our interpretation of Aristotle's concept of time showed that Aristotle characterizes time primarily as a sequence of nows, where it should be noted that the nows are not parts from which time is pieced together into a whole. The very way in which we translated Aristotle's definition of time—hence the way we interpreted it—was intended to indicate that, when he defines it with reference to the earlier and later, he is defining it in terms of time as that which is counted in connection with motion. We also stressed that the Aristotelian definition of time does not contain a tautology within itself, but instead Aristotle speaks from the very constraint of the matter itself. Aristotle's definition of time is not in any respect a definition in the academic sense. It characterizes time by defining how what we call time