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Headword: Χρόνος
Adler number: chi,533
Translated headword: time
Vetting Status: high
The philosophers assert it is incorporeal, being a dimension of the movement of the world.[1] Of this [i.e. time], the past and the future [are] infinite, but the present finite.[2] They also think that the world is corruptible, for its parts (and the whole, too) are corruptible. The parts of the world [are] corruptible, for they change into each other; therefore the world too [is] corruptible. And if something can admit the change for the worse, it is corruptible. And the world [is capable of such a change]; at any rate it is dried out and made into water.
Greek Original:
Χρόνος: οἱ φιλόσοφοι ἀσώματον αὐτὸν εἶναί φασι, διάστημα ὄντα τῆς τοῦ κόσμου κινήσεως. τούτου δὲ τὸν μὲν παρῳχηκότα καὶ τὸν μέλλοντα ἀπείρους, τὸν δὲ ἐνεστῶτα πεπερασμένον. ἀρέσκει δ' αὐτοῖς καὶ φθαρτὸν εἶναι τὸν κόσμον: οὗ γὰρ τὰ μέρη φθαρτά ἐστι, καὶ τὸ ὅλον. τὰ δὲ μέρη τοῦ κόσμου φθαρτά: εἰς ἄλληλα γὰρ μεταβάλλει: φθαρτὸς ἄρα καὶ ὁ κόσμος. καὶ εἴ τι ἐπιδεκτικόν ἐστι τῆς ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον μεταβολῆς, φθαρτόν ἐστι: καὶ ὁ κόσμος: ἐξαυχμοῦται γοῦν καὶ ἐξυδατοῦται.
Stoic doctrine from Diogenes Laertius 7.141.
[1] For this definition of time (attributed to Chrysippus) see Stobaeus, Ecloga 1.106, 5-23 (SVF 2.509 and LS, 51A). Time (along with void, sayables and place) is an incorporeal, a "something" which, albeit non-existent in a strict sense, is subsistent (see Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos 9.212; Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary on Aristotle's Topica 301.19-25 Wallies [SVF, 2.329; LS 27B], Goldschmidt 1972, 331-444, Brunschwig 1994, 158-169).
[2] In Stoic theory time is infinite in extension and infinitely divisible. The Stoics, like Aristotle, regarded past and future as "parts" of time; time as a whole is infinite. Past and future are infinite insofar as they are constituents of the whole time, but they are limited by present (which is "finite"). So past and future, in being parts of time, are not infinite on either side, but they are infinite on one side (see Long & Sedley 1987, vol.1, 307).
H. von Arnim (ed.), Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta (Leipzig:Teubner), 1903-1905, 3 vols.(abbreviated SVF; the first number indicates the volume and the second one the text number)
J. Brunschwig, Papers in Hellenistic Philosophy (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University press), 1994
V. Goldschmidt, "Hyparchein et hyphestanai dans la philosophie stoicienne", Revue des Etudes Grecques 85 (1972), 331-444.
A.A. Long & D.N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 1987, 2 vols. (abbreviated LS, followed by the section and text number)
Keywords: definition; philosophy; science and technology
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 4 May 2000@14:12:23.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 24 December 2002@06:57:46.
David Whitehead on 13 November 2013@09:16:37.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 26 October 2014@23:35:21.


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