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On the Nature of Time: A Biopragmatic Perspective on Language, Thought, and Reality
2014 (English)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This book is a synthesis of more than three decades of research into the concept of time and its semiotic nature. If traditional philosophy – and philosophy of time should be no exception – in the shadow of advancing biology can be said to have reached an impasse, one important reason for this, in harmony with Wittgenstein’s vision, appears to have been its lack of appropriate tools for explicating language. The present theory of time proceeds, accordingly, from the exploration of temporal expressions in language as an evolutionary fact. It derives in a hypothetical, coherent feedback process of hierarchically ordered distinctions the semantics of time from its biologically dictated perceptual and cognitive-pragmatic origins.

The corresponding abductive-regulative model is anchored in the assumption of biological rhythmization as the very foundation of perception and mental/physical action. Understood to originate in space and spatial perspective, time reveals itself as an instrument for temporal perspective on motion (events and situations) in a process of analysis, i.e., discontinuation of chaos made divisible and continuous by the rhythmical screen. Whereas traditional philosophy of time paid attention almost exclusively to the temporal category of tense, the biopragmatic model sees strong evidence in the perspectival nature of time for ascribing the decisive, and probably universal, role in temporal analysis to the linguistic category of aspect.

Aspect may, according to the present findings, be assumed to partake already of change-of-state and cause-effect analysis without which man’s adaptation to new situations – and precondition for survival – would be inconceivable. The proposed model of space/time cognition, inspired by Hegelian dialectics, Heidegger-Gadamer’s hermeneutic circle and Peircean logic, makes Kantian a priori superfluous and liberates time from its enigmatic appearance.

For the first time in temporal studies it thus appears possible to derive hypothetically linguistic expressions of time all the way from pretemporal, homogeneous continuity effected by biological rhythmization, via pretemporal metonymic (Gestalt), chunk-wise partitioning – as a general precondition for the perception and, based on primary metaphorization, the cognition of things, space and motion – to temporal analysis/discontinuation proper, primarily by aspectual perspective, and the subsequent synthesized, heterogeneous continuity of temporally ordered events. The conception of time, so disastrous for modern temporal logic, i.e., as moving object assigned extension, divisible continuity (‛linearity’) and direction, can be shown to have emerged as a result of secondary metaphorization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014, 400. , 477 p.
Studia Slavica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0562-3030 ; 48
Keyword [en]
theory of time, philosophy of time, biopragmatism, perspectivism, linguistic semiotics of space/time, perceptual-cognitive and pragmatic foundations of time semantics, aspect-tense-taxis trichotomy of temporal perspective
National Category
Philosophy General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-219497ISBN: 978-91-554-8846-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-219497DiVA: diva2:714139
Available from: 2014-04-25 Created: 2014-03-03 Last updated: 2014-07-01Bibliographically approved

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