Time in the ontology of Cornelius Castoriadis
We can locate the problematic of time within three philosophical questions, which respectively designate three central areas of philosophical reflection and contemplation.
1) The ontological question, i.e. 'what is being?'
2) The epistemological question, i.e. 'what can we know with certainty?'
3) The existential question, i.e. 'what is the meaning of existence?'
These three questions, which are philosophical, but also scientific and political, as they underline the political and moral question of truth and justice, arising from the phenomenon of time, the irreversible constant flow of phenomena that undermines every claim to absolute knowledge. The purpose of this essay is to illuminate the importance of time for philosophical thought and, more generally, for human social and psychical life, in the context of the ontology of Cornelius Castoriadis. Castoriadis, who asserted that “being is time – and not in the horizon of time”, correlated history to society and being to temporality within the social-historical stratum, the ontological plane created by human existence, where “existence is signification”. Time is interpreted as the creation and destruction of forms in a magmatic, layered with a non-regular stratification, reality, where the social-historical manifests as the creation of collective human activity, in the manner of social imaginary significations. This notion of temporality is accompanied by a profound criticism of traditional rationalistic philosophy, to which Castoriadis assigns the name ‘ensemblistic/identitary’, that highlights the necessity of a new, magmatic ontology, based on the primacy of time.
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