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Bergsoniana
Number of Followers: 0  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2800-874X
Published by OpenEdition Journals Homepage  [456 journals]
  • The Early Reception of Bergson’s Philosophy in the Netherlands
           (1890-1909)

    • Authors: Ties van Gemert
      Abstract: The Dutch Philosophical Landscape of the Fin de Siècle Around the turn of the twentieth century, Bergson was a critically acclaimed philosopher, who held an important chair at the Collège de France and had published two major works, On Time and Free Will (1889) and Matter and Memory (1896). In less than a decade, however, a metamorphosis would take place at the end of which Bergson would be an internationally renowned thinker: a true celebrity, drawing huge, mesmerized audiences to his lectures and causing the first traffic jam on Broadway. With breath-taking momentum, his ideas spread over Europe and eventually, all around the world, with translations and (critical) assessments appearing everywhere from Germany to Turkey and from Russia to China (Zanfi 2013; Irem 2011; Nethercott 1995; Deng 2021). In a time characterized by a sudden mushrooming of artistic and intellectual movements and a constant craving for new ideas, Bergson’s philosophy or rather, Bergsonism as a global, cultura...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • Canalization and Creative Evolution: Images of Life from Bergson to
           Whitehead and Beyond

    • Authors: Tano S. Posteraro
      Abstract: When Whitehead famously wrote that the status of life in nature constituted the modern problem of both philosophy as well as science, he may well have had Bergson in mind. Indeed, Bergson’s Creative Evolution stands as one of the most serious engagements with the problem of life in recent philosophical history. In this paper I unearth a striking line of development that runs from Bergson through Whitehead and into modern embryology. It is well known that life is to be thought, according to Bergson, as a kind of impetus, a drive or force. But Bergson insisted that this was only an image borrowed from psychology — the best one available, but an image no less. This is because life, on the Bergsonian account, exceeds any of the conceptual frames through which it can be determined. We thus require an image by which to imagine it. It is for this reason that so many images populate and animate Bergson’s philosophy of life. In this paper I isolate one in particular, that of the canal, or of...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • The History of the Bergsonian Interpretation of Charles Darwin's Theory of
           Evolution

    • Authors: Mathilde Tahar
      Abstract: Bergson offers an epistemological critique of Darwin’s theory that focuses on his gradualism: for Darwin variation is “minute”, and Bergson glosses “insensible.” His main argument is that if variations are insensible, they cannot confer an advantage to the organism and therefore be selected. Yet, for Darwin, the selected variation is not insensible: to be selected, it must be beneficial to its bearer in the struggle for existence. This article aims at understanding the origin of this misunderstanding by tracing the history of this critique. To do this, we will study Bergson’s sources, showing that his interpretation of Darwin is in line with the critique of many biologists at the turn of the 20th century, albeit in a confused way. This will lead us back to the origin of this critique: the work of Mivart. In this study, we wish to reveal the anchor of the Bergsonian interpretation in the debates of his time, and the shifts from the traditional exposition of the argument that led Berg...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • Bergson, Servant of Colonialism: Education and Empire in North Africa
           under the French Third Republic

    • Authors: Larry S. McGrath
      Abstract: How should we make sense of Henri Bergson’s praise of French colonialism' In this chapter, I examine his 1923 book review in which he claimed that the remedy to Muslim “indolence” was found in European civilization’s energy, effort, and action. Bergson drew not only on his own philosophy to justify the French imperial mission in North Africa. What he described as a “philosophy of colonialism” also took shape in the wider educational context of the French Third Republic. Using school manuals and unpublished letters, I show how Bergson’s early career as a civil servant was spent teaching a curriculum that mobilized the human sciences to rationalize French colonialism.
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • Linguistic Naturalism and Anti-Naturalism in Bergson’s Course L’Idée
           de Temps: Language, Society, and Life

    • Authors: Bruno B. Rates
      Abstract: Since the beginning of his intellectual journey, Bergson has always shown an enormous distrust of language. Allied to space, communication, social life and conceptual thinking, it was considered, except in its artistic dimension, as an obstacle, not a vehicle, to the expression of duration. However, despite the verisimilitude of this general view, if we compare the assertions about language made in 1889, in Time and Free Will, to those made in Creative Evolution, eighteen years later, we will notice a significant change in position that goes from considering it as an element of “dissimulation” to an “instrument of liberation.” Based on the recently published course “L’idée de temps” given at the Collège de France in the years of 1901-1902, and having as a common thread the relationship between language, society and life, I intend to demonstrate that the causes that motivated this adjustment of position occur from the abandonment, by Bergson, of a certain anti-naturalist conception o...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • From Liberty to Property: The Influence of Nathaniel Southgate Shaler and
           James Mark Baldwin on Bergson’s Views on Life and Technology

    • Authors: Bruno B. Rates
      Abstract: When we think of Bergson’s relation to American thought, the first name that naturally comes to mind is William James. However, if we look closer and, more specifically, if we analyze the impact of American thinkers on Bergson’s philosophy, we will find two scientists whose preoccupations were distant from those cultivated by the forerunner of pragmatism, the paleontologist Nathaniel Southgate Shaler (1841-1906) and the evolutionary psychologist James Mark Baldwin (1861-1934). In this article I will investigate how their thesis about the potentialities of the human hand (Shaler) and the social aspects of the “struggle for life” (Baldwin) have shaped Bergson’s views on life and technology. As a consequence, I hope to show two things. First, that without the understanding of the key role played by paleontology in Creative Evolution, we cannot fully grasp the meaning of one of its central ideas, that man is the “term” and the “end” or, in other words, the raison d’être of evolution. Fi...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • The Philosophy of Henri Bergson

    • Authors: T. J. de Boer
      Abstract: In 1907, Alfred Binet, as astute a thinker as witty a writer, conducted an inquiry into the state of philosophical education in the French gymnasiums (lycées and collèges) of which he in his Année psychologique (1908) communicates the results. Of the nearly 300 teachers who devote themselves to this teaching, 103 responded to the 18 questions he asked. This relatively large number of answers demonstrates the interest of the respondents in the topic. Are the reliability and, above all, the correctness thereof proportional to the interest shown' We want to hope so. This survey, in any case, has drawn attention to two points that are important for our subject: the significance and influence, in France, of metaphysics in general and that of Henri Bergson in particular. According to the judgement of most - and they see progress in this - metaphysics is now less practiced than in the past. The teachers are no longer bound to a philosophical catechism, the education is more historical-criti...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • Encountering Bergson in Eliot: A Report on Philosophy, Science, and
           Religion

    • Authors: Mohit Abrol
      Abstract: Despite there being deep lines of convergence between the philosophies of Henri Bergson and T. S. Eliot, it is still debatable whether Eliot remained a ‘Bergsonian’ till the end or not. Also, the conversation between Bergson and Eliot scholars has been found to be limited in this direction. I will argue that it is in Bergson’s philosophy and the multiple tangents arising out of it that the investigation about time can find the coherence Eliot was looking for. Bergson’s philosophy of time embodied in the experience of duration provides not only a kind of ontological ‘awareness’ but an epistemological and psychological one as well to the extent that both the investigated concept and the investigator undergo a radical transformation. Therefore, this ‘new’ philosophy of time, based on genuine indeterminacy and affirming multiplicity, can provide grounds for the emergence of something entirely new. It is in these explorations about philosophy, science, and religion that the Bergsonian in...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • Affect, Utility, and Self-Constitution. A Bergsonian Reading of Whitehead
           and Levinas

    • Authors: Miguel José Paley
      Abstract: This paper studies Bergson’s notions of utility and affect in light of their relationship to the process of self-constitution as it is developed in Time and Free Will and Matter and Memory as well as how these ideas were taken up in the thought of Levinas and Whitehead. I begin by mentioning three basic critiques of Bergson’s work focusing on the charge that his philosophy is problematically impersonal. In the first part of the paper, I explore how the notion of affect may counter such a charge. Affect, although sparsely treated, plays a fundamental, determining role in Bergson’s notion of self-constitution. I then show how this view might be at odds with Bergson’s determination of nature as utilitarian. In light of this conflict, the paper speaks of two Bergsons, one overly utilitarian and the other with a vague but important focus on affect. Part two then outlines the basic metaphysics of Whitehead and Levinas in order to show that their critiques of utilitarian and vital philosop...
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
  • Panpsychism in Bergson and James

    • Authors: Joël Dolbeault
      Abstract: The aim of this article is to show that Bergson and James defend a form of panpsychism, and that on this point, Bergson probably had an influence on James. For Bergson, matter has psychic characters, in particular a memory of the immediate past and a motor memory. These characters are necessary to explain causation within the physical world, understood then as analogous to automatic activity in living beings. However, according to Bergson, there is a radical distinction between the inert and the living: only the living is capable of creation. Probably inspired by Bergson, James develops a similar idea: causation in the physical world is understandable only by admitting that matter has psychic characters. Nevertheless, unlike Bergson, James does not make a radical distinction between the inert and the living. This leads him to make a link between matter and consciousness.
      PubDate: 2022-07-08
       
 
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