Past and Future Presents: Existential Time and Futural Materialism


  • William S Jaques York University


Temporality, Phenomenology, Materialism, Existentialism


The paper brings existential temporality, as developed in the work of phenomenologists Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and Husserl, into dialogue with historical materialism. What results is the development of a theoretical background for what the author terms futural materialism, which is taken to be a complimentary logical extension of historical materialist projects. To this end, it is suggested that the past and the future are best understood as materially existing in the present in an immanent way, mediated by conscious beings in the form of memory, projection, residual effect, and affect. Put differently, the present's presence in the past and future play a determining roll in those temporal dimensions, which subsequently fold back into the configuration of the present. Following Nietzsche and drawing influence from Guattari and Deleuze, it is argued that past and future are relatively fluid tools to be purposively deployed in the present for particular purposes rather than being transcendent facts which subjectivity must merely contend with. It is further asserted that as part of a broader non-reductive material monist project of social transformation, both futural and historical materialism are necessary considerations.  




How to Cite

Jaques, W. S. (2017). Past and Future Presents: Existential Time and Futural Materialism. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 13(1), 253–266. Retrieved from