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A critical comparison of Aristotle’s and Augustine’s concepts on time

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  1. Introduction
  2. The way time relates to change
  3. Augustine's arguements in Confessions
  4. The biggest similarity
  5. Aristotle's Physics
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

Aristotle and Augustine are two men whose intricately crafted ideas have been regarded as some of the most intelligent for thousands of years. Both men came from very different times and many times took very different approaches when explaining their ideas. Aristotle conceptualizes using mostly observation and science while Augustine forms many opinions based on religious faith. The best way to compare and contrast these two thinkers is to look at the different approaches they take on explaining a common topic. Time is a particularly important topic for both of these thinkers and some clear differences can be drawn by comparing the two men's concepts on time. Since both men discuss many different aspects of time, selecting a few of them to compare and contrast gives a clearer view on some of the specific similarities and differences that they have. The relationship between time and change, the notion of time in parts, and how to measure time are three concepts that both men cover in great detail. Comparing their different approaches on these three aspects of time gives a good understanding of the difference in the way that the two men conceptualize in general.

[...] If a strong gust blows the pencil off the table, the time that passes between the pencil sitting on the table and the pencil sitting on the ground is the actualization of the change. The pencil sitting on the floor is the second now or the after. The different nows, as limits, represent points of observation and allow time to be divided into specific parts. This is the notion that Aristotle presents as the parts of time. Augustine takes a much different approach on the concept of time as parts. [...]

[...] The only difference in their approaches on measuring is that Aristotle is measuring the length of time that the actualization of a change occurs over, while Augustine is measuring the length of time that the mind observes an event from beginning to end. These similarities and differences show that Aristotle and Augustine developed similar methods for measuring time, but that the time they are measuring exists in different forms. After comparing the approaches that Aristotle and Augustine take in explaining some of the different aspects of time, a general difference in the two thinkers can be seen. [...]

[...] Aristotle argues that this comparison in amounts of change is the only way to measure time because it is the only way to physically observe time. Therefore, time cannot be referred to as fast or slow in terms of time, but only as a number or amount. Augustine develops a different method for measuring time in his book Confessions. He presents the notion that the only time that time can be measured is when it is being observed in the present. [...]

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