Publication 638

Maturana H. R. (1995) The nature of time. Instituto de Terapia Cognitiva, Santiago de Chile. Fulltext at
I do not wish to deal with all the domains in which the word time enters as if it were referring to an obvious aspect of the world or worlds that we human live. Indeed, the very fact that time can be made an issue of reflection shows us that what the word time connotes changes with the circumstances in which it is used. This situation alone, however, would not constitute a problem inviting us to enter in deep reflections if we just accepted that the context defined the meaning of the word in each case. But we do not do that, and we ask the question what is time? as if we thought that the word time referred to some independent entity or dimension of nature that could be properly disclosed or described if we tried hard enough, even if we could not the final essence of it. I consider, however, that the question what is time? is adequate because it implies from the start the view that time can be properly treated as some kind of independent entity or dimension of nature. And I consider that such a view is fully inadequate because I think that all that we human beings talk about are relations that arises in our operation in language as a closed domain of recursive consensual coordinations of behaviors. Let me explain what I say with a few words about living, language, and cognition, and then answer the question what distinctions do we make or connote when we talk of time?

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