In Being and Time, Heidegger writes:

This task as a whole requires that the concept of time thus gained be distinguished from the common understanding of it. The latter has become explicit in an interpretation of time which reflects the traditional concept that has persisted since Aristotle and beyond Bergson. We must thereby make clear that and in what way this concept of time and common understanding of time originate from temporality. In this way the common concept of time receives again its rightful autonomy - contrary to Bergson's thesis that time understood in the common way is really space.

Is Bergson's thesis (time is spatial) derived from the revision of the basic concepts of space and time rooted in Einsteins GR? If not, is it rooted in Spinoza - time as extension, or via Aristotle (I recall that there is something of a spatial element to Aristotle's conception of time - but it may be no-more that it requires an infinite motion, and that motion is circular and in place - ie a clock).

But is this even the right interpretation of what Heidegger stating about Bergson's thesis, since he is asking about time understood in the 'common way'? As both Einsteins conception, as well as Aristotle's is uncommon.

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    You can see: Heath Massey, The Origin of Time: Heidegger and Bergson (2015). Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 14:23
  • This development is not related to GR or Spinoza, but could be called a critique of something first grappled with in both of his theses, so primarily Aristotle and Kant. I don't believe Bergson really engaged with Spinoza until the time of the writing of Matter and Memory. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 16:37

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Bergson's thesis was not that time is space-like, but that time understood "in the common way" is space-like. Bergson argued that practical reasons cause us to regard time as space, but that strictly speaking, the thesis that time is space-like is not merely wrong, but self contradictory. Influences from Aristotle and Kant can be detected in Bergson. For example, Bergson's reaction to Zeno's paradoxes is similar to Aristotle's: that motion is essentially continuous, and cannot be broken into separate moments.

WE necessarily express ourselves by means of words and we usually think in terms of space . . . This assimilation of thought to things is useful in practical life and necessary in most of the sciences . . . [but] when an illegitimate translation of the unextended into the extended, of quality into quantity, has introduced contradiction into the very heart of the question, contradiction must, of course, recur in the answer. (Bergson, Preface to Time and Free Will)

  • I still find myself puzzled about Bergsons notion; after all, whilst one can move backwards and forwards in space; one is very limited in how one moves in time, essentially there being just one motion - forward; but perhaps this misses what Bergson means by the 'common way', I mean in the way w speak about it - Next year being ahead of us, yesterday being behind us; these are spatial terms. Its also interesting that Aristotle considers time as continuous, since physically time is modelled by a line, and whilst set-theoretically Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 16:01
  • a line might be considered as being modelled by points of time, the modern interpretation includes its topology, so it becomes continuous, and points fade into the background - this makes it consonant with Aristotles conception. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 16:03
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    A closer reading of the extract quoted has put my puzzlement to rest. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 17:44
  • @MoziburUllah Yes, it is an interesting preface. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 19:56

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