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Sample text

But duration is like Extension in one feature only, viz. its quantitativeness or measurability (avoiding the question as to which of these terms is the best expression of the common quality); in its specific quality it is wholly different, a fact that is too often slurred over in modem speculations, especially those of a mathematico-physical type. (ii) These considerations lead naturally to the second and connected set of objections to predicating duration of the Real: the temporal variety of an enduring being is necessarily a successive variety.

The enjoyed present is a ‘specious’ present, as the phrase goes, and is thus a real part of duration, and not the mere cross-section dividing past and future which analysis demands; the individual’s impact on time is not instantaneous but durational. And, indeed, since every part of duration must, as Spinoza says, be a duration, it is obvious that the experienced present of time must be ‘specious’, for if it were not, crude time would con­ tain no present, and all perception would disappear. Nor would there remain a remembered past or an anticipated future, for with the present would go also all possibility of memory or expectation.

Such an identification would imply that the order of things in time is, with minor corrections for the spatio-temporal perspective of the experient, the real order of existences. But according to Spinoza it is not so: for him the real order is the logical or intellectual order, which is not a mere corrected temporal order, but proceeds on a different plan: there is no point-to-point correspondence between events in time and the stages of logical order. No dis­ tinction, indeed, is more clear in Spinoza than that between ‘the common order of nature’1 and ‘the order of the intellect’,2 through which the actual time-order of our experiences is distinguished from the logical order of essences.

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Aeternitas: A Spinozistic study by H. F. Hallett

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