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On the Notion of Historical (Dis)Continuity

Reinhart Koselleck's Construction of the Sattelzeit

Gabriel Motzkin

The author contends that a transition period is conceived in terms of its continuity with preceding or subsequent periods, rather than an entirely discontinuous temporal unit. Thus, in order to conceive of a period of transition, one must assume an overarching historical continuity. This contrasts with Reinhart Koselleck's and Michel Foucault's conception of the period of transition to modernity which is at once a break and part of the modern period. By analyzing how time is experienced in terms of contemporary awareness and retrospective consciousness, the author maps out the epistemological determinations that allow for the conception of a period of transition to modernity such as Sattelzeit.