Influential ideas about time?
October 30, 2008 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I am looking to learn about philosophies of time and their popular reception in the early 20th century, can anyone recommend any good books or other resources?

In particular, I had read some of both Henri Bergson's Creative Evolution, and J.W. Donne's An Experiment with Time, and wanted to find some general context and get an idea of their reception. But I would be interested in anything relevant to the late 19th early 20th Century. This is in relation to reading in to Malcolm Lowry's Under The Volcano, if that helps or complicates anything.
posted by kaspen to Religion & Philosophy (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Try this video for a rough intro into string theory. It covers the existence of the universe in 10 dimensions, which happen to include time. Not exactly what you're looking for, but this is fairly modern and does cover time.
posted by phrakture at 11:23 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

This book comes highly recommended:
Travels in four dimensions

I've not read it myself, but back in the day when I was Robin Le Poidevin's MA student, I found his courses on the philosophy of time very very good - clearly put, but exactly as mind-bending as a course on the philosophy of time ought to be.
posted by handee at 11:25 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Just to clarify, I'm not really looking for anything modern or current, much less scientific or plausible. I'm looking for historical context, so not really anything post WWII.
posted by kaspen at 11:30 AM on October 30, 2008

Heidegger's Sein und Zeit, perhaps? (Being and Time.)

Wrapping your head around Dasein and thrown-ness for the first time is interesting.

Note: Heidegger is controversial.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:50 PM on October 30, 2008

Paul Ricoeur's Time and Narrative

M.M. Bakhtin's chronotope in The Dialogic Imagination.

I may think of more, but I'm running out the door.
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:32 PM on October 30, 2008

seconding ricoeur although its extemely dense. less philisophical but relevent is EP. Thompson's great essay Time, Work-discipline and Industrial Capitalism.
posted by alkupe at 2:10 PM on October 30, 2008

J.W. Dunne's An Experiment with Time (it is Dunne not Donne by the way) had a huge influence on a lot of prewar writers. T.S. Eliot alludes to it in The Rock (1934) where one of the characters mentions 'some new notion about time', and in the famous opening lines to Burnt Norton (1935): 'time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future, / And time future contained in time past'. Auden's lines in '1929', 'a forethought of death that we may find ourselves at death / Not helplessly strange to the new conditions', are lifted straight from Dunne: 'We must sleep if we are not to find ourselves, at death, helplessly strange to the new conditions.' I don't know that anyone has written at length about Dunne's cultural influence (good topic though) but you will find brief references to An Experiment with Time in a lot of books about literary modernism and the Thirties.
posted by verstegan at 2:14 PM on October 30, 2008

Wallace Chafe's Discourse, Consciousness, and Time - agreeably more approachable than Ricoeur, Heidegger, or Bakhtin and a good introduction to linguistic discourse studies.

I think Ricouer has an equally dense but much shorter piece on his theory of time in an edited collection on narrative. If you're interested, memail me and I'll dig up the reference.
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:31 PM on October 30, 2008

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