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CHICAGO STUDIES

historicity has specified the collective consciousness of our culture only since the century of Darwin, Hegel and Marx. Aquinas, one of the principal architects of the Christian tradition, of course, believed that the world has a beginning and an end. However, understanding the world as having a beginning and an end is hardly the same as historical consciousness, although that Christian belief was historically a prerequisite for the gradual emergence of historical consciousness. Historical consciousness is fundamentally a matter of how what occurs between the beginning and the end, the start and the stop, is conceived. And between the start and the stop Aquinas saw a basically unhistorical world. Although his faith told him otherwise, the world as he experienced it was eternal: there was nothing in his experience, any more than in that of Plato or Aristotle, from which he could understand through rational reflection that the world was not eternal but historical. But what difference does it make for man's self-understanding and morality whether the world is experienced as eternal OJ" historical?

DEFINING INDIVIDUALITY

All ordinary conscious experience occurs in what Karl Jaspers has called the subject-object dichotomy. All experience of the self is simultaneously an experience of a correlative of the self, an other; and conversely, all experience of an other is also an experience of the correlative of the other, the self. Thus, Leslie Dewart can say of man's psychic life: "It is the mind's self-differentiation of its-self out of a reality with which it was originally continuous and united in un-differentiation. Consciousness is a process. . . . Consciousness cannot be ... unless by the continuous differentiation of the self fJ"Om ob. t s .... " JeC

Man experiences himself only in relation to the other; he identifies himself (that is, he discovers continuously a reality to call "I myself") only in relation to the other. Consequently, man can define himself reflectively only in relation to the other. This is why Heidegger has defined man's being in tortuous, hyphenated fashion as being,in-the-world, with wo1¡ld

I J

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

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