By H. F. Hallett

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It is not that the present is more real than the past or future, but that perception is judged to be a more reliable source of knowledge than memory or anticipation, and again, that the specious present is avail­ able to us for action in a way in which further past and future are not; and since all the parts of crude time are equally real or unreal, I may go further and deny explicitly that past, present, and future belong to time itself as such; they must be ascribed to the relations of the individual ‘subject’ (corporeally and mentally) with the contents of time.

Cf. also below, p. ) T H E ASSAY OF T IM E 19 remembered as having once been present and future, and the remainder are judged to have been so; his present moment may be observed by him in the process of ceasing to be future and becoming past; his anticipation shows the moments of his future in turn becoming present and then past. These facts, and their extended correlates, constitute the peculiar unsuitability of crude duration as an Attribute of the Real. The conception of the present is especially ambiguous, and though its ambiguity infects both the past and the future, yet these in the main retain their ‘sense’ and quality, though the past continually recedes and incorporates new moments, and the future continually approaches and yields its earlier parts to the present and the past.

3 T IM E , D U R A T IO N , A N D E T E R N IT Y 17 simpliciter, but as existence of a certain kind. The assertion that it is the nature of Reason to conceive things sub quadam specie aetemitatis 1 must not be interpreted as if its objects were ‘ideal contents’ or ‘floating ideas’ applying at any point of time because independent of time-reference; its objects are individual existences which are also universal by reason of their amplitude. There is another interpretation which may be, and has some­ times been, given to Spinoza’s conception of eternity, which, though perhaps less inadequate in intention than the view I have been discussing, is still irreconcilable with his general trend, no less than his definite assertions.

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