/François Hartog interviewed by Marcin Rychter/

We have these three categories: past, present and future, and I think we can acknowledge these categories and that they contend against each other as universal. The ways they are being experienced, organized, linked vary in different places and in different times. Regimes of historicity is the concept that helps us to look at the way the three categories are organized. The regimes themselves are only explanatory tools; they are not any kind of a metaphysical entity. They help to make it clear that if you are, for example, in the configuration where the past is the main category, then in order to know what to do with your own present (because this is always the question that history serves for), you start from looking at the past. The light comes from the past, so to speak. That was the great model in Europe which was called historia magistra vitae: history is there to give examples and by imitation (meant as the main instrument) you knew how to behave, how to address your own present situation. However, it does not mean you are reproducing the past. It means that the present and the future never exceed the past.

How to cite:

Hartog, François. “Presentism and Beyond.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 4, no. 1 (2020): 110-116.


François Hartog
Chair of Historiography
École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
54 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris, France

Marcin Rychter (Interviewer)
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw
Krakowskie Przedmieście 3, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland

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