David Hoy distinguishes between questions concerned with the nature of time itself, and inquiries into the phenomenology of human temporality. Time in this perspective is said to inform human lives, as a universal or objective source, that is then constructed with a human particularity.
These questions should indicate that this book is not primarily about the nature of time in general. The focus is instead on the history of the phenomenology of time as time shows up in human lives. To write about the nature of time in and of itself would require an exploration of a complex array of issues about the status of what could be called “scientific” or “objective” or “universal” time, that is to say, the “time of the universe.” Restricting the book to the phenomenology of human temporality—to “the time of our lives”—raises an equally formidable but different set of questions. In this book some of the questions raised by our authors are the following. Is the time of our lives a function of a life as a whole, a lifetime, or can it be condensed into a single moment of vision? Does a life have a unity that runs through it, or is the unity of time, and of a life, a narrative, a story, a fiction, or even an illusion? Can time be perceived? What is the time like that we encounter in our experience of our world and ourselves? Is the time of our lives the same as the time of nature or of history? (Hoy 1989, xii).
Hoy, David. 2009. The time of our lives: A critical history of temporality. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.