A Recording of this course exists. If you're interesting in gaining access to a past MSCP course please email admin@mscp.org.au .

Heidegger’s Alternative History of Time

Lecturers: Emily Hughes and Marilyn Stendera

Originally Taught: Summer School 2019

While Heidegger is known as a philosopher for whom time is a significant focus, his thinking on the subject is fragmented, making it difficult to grasp in all its depth and complexity. One way to begin understanding Heidegger’s philosophy of time is through his own critical analysis of the history of the philosophy of time in Western thought. In contrast to both the analytic philosophy of time dominant in contemporary philosophy and the scientific trajectory of thinkers like Newton and Einstein, Heidegger traces a history that focusses on the studies of time put forward by Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Kant, Hegel, Bergson and Husserl.

In this course, we will take seriously Heidegger’s claim that these seven figures are essential to any understanding of time. We will explore what his alternative history of the concept of time can tell us about his work and theirs, about temporality and existence, about the history of philosophy and philosophy as a historical discipline, especially in contrast to the lineage informing the analytic study of time. In so doing, we will draw out what it is that makes time of such significance for Heidegger, and what it is that might be missing from the contemporary analytic philosophy of time.

This course is suitable for anyone interested in Heidegger, phenomenology, the philosophy of time, and the figures included in Heidegger’s alternative history of time. It will also offer something to those interested in exploring broader themes such as the so-called analytic/Continental distinction; the history of philosophy and philosophy of history; and the relationship between science and philosophy.

Course Schedule

Lecture One: History of the concept of time: Heidegger’s critical project.

  • Heidegger Being and Time Division II Chapter 6
  • Heidegger Basic Problems of Phenomenology §19 Time and temporality
  • Heidegger Zollikon Seminars p. 24–74

Lecture Two: Aristotle, Plotinus, and Augustine

  • Aristotle Physics Book IV, parts 10-14
  • Plotinus Enneads III, tractate 7
  • Augustine Confessions, Book XI

Lecture Three: Kant and Hegel

  • Kant Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Aesthetic Section II: Of Time
  • Hegel Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences Part II: Philosophy of Nature §257–61 on Space and Time
  • Hegel Phenomenology of Spirit §46   

Lecture Four: Bergson and Husserl

  • Bergson Time and Free Will
  • Bergson Creative Evolution, Chapter 1, sections 1-2 and Chapter IV, sections 2-4
  • Husserl Ideas I, §81-82
  • Husserl Lectures on the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time, §1-2, §8-32

Lecture Five: Heidegger’s model of temporality

  • Heidegger Being and Time §65, §68 and §69
  • Heidegger Metaphysical Foundations of Logic §12–13
  • Heidegger Basic Problems of Phenomenology §20–22
  • Heidegger Time and Being


Emily Hughes has undergraduate degrees in both philosophy and in cultural studies and creative writing. She has a PhD in philosophy from the University of New South Wales, a year of which was spent researching at the Martin-Heidegger-Institut in Wuppertal. Her thesis focused on Martin Heidegger’s concept of affect. Other areas of interest include phenomenology, existentialism, and the philosophy of time and temporality. She has taught at UNSW, and for the SSCP and MSCP.

Marilyn Stendera has undergraduate degrees in philosophy, social theory and German studies. She received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Melbourne, with her thesis exploring intersections between Heidegger’s model of time and contemporary cognitive science. She is also interested more generally in phenomenology, philosophies of cognition and temporality, virtue ethics and the analytic/Continental distinction. She has taught at Melbourne, Monash and for the MSCP.