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Environmental Values

In and Out of Time

Richard Gault

Environmental Values 4(1995): 149-166. doi: 10.3197/096327195776679556

This paper explores the nature of time and its relation to our concerns for the future. It is shown how a new sense of time, chronological time, emerged with the rise of science and modernity. This now familiar time is rarely questioned. Yet, it is argued, this time is intimately bound up with our contemporary problems and our failure to effect solutions. In analysing chronological time it is revealed that the future is devoid of reality in it. This absence of a real sense of the future explains our careless despoiling of the environment. To save our environment we need to resurrect a real sense for the future: only then can the future be truly valued. This means re-discovering another sense of time. This other time is named kairological time. In kairological time there is a more vivid awareness of the future. In this time, too, new ways of acting for the future are opened up. Possibilities for a wiser way to the future in part stem from a revaluation of the past. So the sense of being out of time to save ourselves and our planet can be overcome by a living in this other time, kairological time.

KEYWORDS: Time, future, philosophy of technology, history of time, history of science

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

How to Prepare for the Unknown? On the Significance of Future Generations and Future Studies in Environmental Policy Jan J. Boersema

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