The Now and the Relation between Motion and Time in Aristotle: A Systematic Reconstruction

Mark Sentesy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper reconstructs Aristotle's account of the now to clarify the relationship between motion and the number of time. If time is the number of motion, then the priority of motion can be grasped by examining his theory of number. The paper gives a systematic overview of the now in relation to motion, to the constitution of units, and to number in general. This shows that, for Aristotle, the now is not itself an extended unit, and defends his view against claims that time is implicitly prior to motion. The temporal number is co-constituted by the soul and motion, and the now is key to understanding how this occurs. This paper shows that, just as numbers are generated by the soul, time emerges through the soul's articulation of motion using a now. The now is a limit that marks out and sets up the abstraction of a temporal unit from its underlying motion. This reconstruction provides a strong basis for the claim that time is ontologically dependent on motion, and secondarily on the soul.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-323
Number of pages45
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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