Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Historia como interrupción del tiempo

Antonio Aguilera Pedrosa


A concept of history that invokes the detention of history. Facing concepts of the present as transition and as repetition, Benjamin elaborates another one in which time comes to a stop, and which is key to understanding his concept of history. The usual interpretation which distinguishes between historical time and physical time is intended to facilitate the comprehension of Benjamin, but at the price of forgetting certain paradoxes: detention itself, the reversibility of time, the redemption of the entire past, the invocation of theology, the possibility of change with respect to natural time. Norbert Elias has insisted on the impossibility of completely separating physical from social time and in the complex evolution of the latter, which has come to resemble mere nature. All this is relevant to think an alternative to the Heideggerian attempt of determining being as time, severely criticised by Tugendhat. From Benjamin’s concept of history, which radically incorporates intersubjectivity, the objective is not to reduce the series of before and after to the series of present, past and future, but to understand that it is possible to construct an alternative historical series to the socially established one, and with it a different future, but in such a way that a certain after modifies a before. It is about abandoning a phenomenological temporality, where according to Tugendhat there is no place for objectivity, nor freedom or responsibility, for a concept of history as detention, which implies the ethical and the political, but which is not without difficulties.

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