Human Studies

, Volume 33, Issue 2–3, pp 173–190 | Cite as

Revisiting the Concept of Time: Archaic Perplexity in Bergson and Heidegger

  • James Gilbert-Walsh
Research Paper


Though the claims they make about temporality are markedly different, Henri Bergson and Martin Heidegger agree that time is a philosophically foundational phenomenon; indeed, they agree that time is, in certain respects, the basis for all discursively representable beings. This paper focuses not so much on their theories of temporality (i.e., their respective answers to the question “what is time?” and their justifications for these answers) but rather on the challenges involved in talking about this phenomenon at all. Both thinkers are highly sensitive to these challenges and to the problems involved in any attempt to represent time in a discursively straightforward manner. I will show that: (1) Bergson’s and Heidegger’s respective claims about time can be fully understood only if we keep this sensitivity in view and carefully note what they are—and aren’t—doing in “talking about time”; and (2) what is ultimately at stake in their analyses is not just the phenomenon of time but what it means to engage in rigorous philosophical praxis.


Temporality Heidegger Bergson Extemporaneity History Interruption 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Thomas UniversityFrederictonCanada

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