Chapter

The Definition of Time as a Kind of Number

Ursula Coope

in Time for Aristotle

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780199247905
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603082 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199247900.003.0006

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

 The Definition of Time as a Kind of Number

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This chapter explains Aristotle’s definition of time. He defines time as a kind of number of change. It is argued that when he says that time is a number, he means that it is what we count when we count nows in a certain way. In defining time as a kind of number, he is saying that it is essentially a kind of order, not (as is often supposed) that it is essentially measurable. It is argued that when he says that time is a number that it is countable and not a number with which we count, he is saying that time, though a number of a sort, is not a discrete plurality (and hence, not a number that could be used to count things). If ‘number’ is understood in the way that is suggested, then the claim that time is a number is compatible with the claim that time is continuous.

Keywords: definition; number; order; measurable; continuous; discrete; plurality

Chapter.  6543 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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