Read Henri Bergson: Key Writings (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers) by Henri Bergson Keith Ansell-Pearson John Mullarkey Online


This volume brings together generous selections from his major texts: Time and Free Will, Matter and Memory, Creative Evolution, Mind-Energy, The Creative Mind, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion and Laughter. In addition it features material from the Melanges never before translated in English, such as the correspondence between Bergson and William James. The volumeThis volume brings together generous selections from his major texts: Time and Free Will, Matter and Memory, Creative Evolution, Mind-Energy, The Creative Mind, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion and Laughter. In addition it features material from the Melanges never before translated in English, such as the correspondence between Bergson and William James. The volume will be an excellent textbook for pedagogic purposes and a helpful source book for philosophers working across the analytic/continental divide....

Title : Henri Bergson: Key Writings (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers)
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ISBN : 9780826457295
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
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Henri Bergson: Key Writings (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers) Reviews

  • the gift
    2019-03-30 03:36

    correction: i have to put it somewhere as i think it- b does not say 'time' is 'indivisible' rather that each 'cut' creates in/of time a necessarily qualitative difference rather than the usual spatial, homogenous, measure of quantity, that by its nature each cut resists all attempts to 'symbolize', spatializing is always mistaking 'degree' (quantity) of change with 'kind' of change (qualitative)... introducing opposing forces calculated to prevail over one or the other, hate vs love, talking 'intensity' of 'more' or 'less' instead of seeing something unique that cannot be so reduced... as if quantity- rather than recognize 'quality' of change... this is a later later addition: reading bergson article on the sep website (stanford encyclopedia of philosophy), the argument is that the innovative thought which he comes to is 'multiplicity' and this needs further explanation. it is not just me having trouble understanding it. have i tried to explain it? i try again, summarizing: 'qualitative multiplicity' is heterogeneous (singularities), continuous (interpenetrating), dualistic (oppositional at extremes), progressive (temporal, not given all at once), and because of all this cannot be reduced to a symbol, must be appreciated intuitively. this is in opposition to 'quantative spatiality'. there is some conflict, some misinterpretation, of his philosophy, eg. he never denigrates einsteinian general relativity, he feels it is significant not only in physics but also philosophy, but just feels his math is not up to it. there is his different interpretation of evolution, which though different than darwin is not suggestive of necessary teleology or belief in god(s)...this is a later addition: i am reading on, and have become more aware that the 'images' bergson uses are not to be applied 'metaphorically'- inherent not simply in psychology but also in ontology, what is 'real'- and this further reading only emphasizes how my first review here is insufficient. my enthusiasm for this selection is not diminished, only my confidence i have understood and expressed bergson's thought... i have tried to correct or improve this review. do not know if i have. something to keep working on, though i will move these thoughts to the review of 'deleuze on cinema'...first review: i love to read continental philosophy. i read a lot of books- many of which few others read, in this case only seven ratings on goodreads, only this one review. this is not harry potter and the philosopher's stone, which at the moment has 2,841,169 ratings, and 43,256 reviews. i am not crazy about that book, but i love this book. this is not the usual trend of 'continental' is not 'phenomenology', and this suggests so much more thought, that leads to philosophers such as deleuze. this is an excellent collection of bergson's work, but i am anxious to convey this: as with other five-star philosophy texts, i have a certain uncritical enthusiasm directly after reading it, and this review could thus be appreciation rather than critique, so i am reading parts of it again. as a collection, there is some range from merely excellent to very good. but when it is good it is great...if bergson is correct in his assertion that any philosopher has only one thing to say, in referring to his work in turn, we could summarize that one thing in one sentence: 'time is real'.there is such pleasure in bergson's writing, this made me look back to two of his major works- 'time and free will', 'matter and memory'- to see how i once took them. there is here an intro to the book, no intros for each work, but somehow, in order, each piece leads and supports the next and next, and i feel i understand far better than the first time i read those books. this could be having read so much more, particularly deleuze, also reading them without further crowding texts. only what is important. there are a few works i have not read- 'creative evolution' (now read 2016),'two sources of morality and religion'- but trust the passages here. something to read. now, later, perhaps more relaxed read. less worried that i might have been too easily convinced, reading certain writing a second time, does inspire a third father, as scientist, as professor, once told me his conception of the teaching process: if you cannot explain it simply, you do not know it (this is just where first heard, Einstein and others are credited with it too). and this is graduate seminars on theoretical chemistry. this is a man whose unconscious intellectual pride leads him to be surprised when saying he cannot read the philosophy i read, as if he should. so i have to admit i really cannot follow the physics he taught, but this is no surprise. with my father as ideal questioner, i must begin with this one sentence: 'time is real'. in explaining this i would like to address two essential concepts bergson works on in these key writings: 'duration', and 'multiplicity'. if i can explain these slightly, this is recognition of how good is this collection. all errors are just me. and on the other, i am not going to read them yet again to tell you, i am just going to try...the idea of 'duration', comes first. bergson contrasts this intuitive sense of time, lived time, subjective time, with that time we are familiar with in science (at least in bergson's era, until we get to quantum physics when it becomes questioning), that time we render as any-moment-whatsoever, time familiar in everyday experience, in which we all make a natural, human, mistaken 'image', of confusing time with space. this is everyday life. this is useful in our human projects, as he contrasts the number as multiplicity in unity, using the image of a flock of sheep that are yes, one, as in one flock- but also has countable elements, that is the individual sheep that only the shepherd can each identify. then let us abstract, eliminate irrelevance, recognize what this thing is, this number. we separate them in thought, in space, in representation in thought, by counting. how is this done? well, by dividing numbers in any way, in space, where somehow we get the idea that units counted are all the same sort, all 'homogeneous' and thus quantitative- not only in space but in quality of time! and this is the beginning of bergson's central insight that will blossom through all his work: there is this essential error in thinking time on the order of graphs of science, on each side, each progress of whatever numbers, we make x equal space, y equal time- but this tracks history and not actuality, not movement, not duration, of time. 'time' is not simply represented as points on a 'line', no matter how close we make those points- those points only recognize that time 'passes' through them- time is always new, always heterogeneous, and, in the example of a song, the fact one note is delayed or prolonged does not mean the 'shape' is hence continued as the same- no, this means it is a new 'melody', a qualitatively different result! there is the illusion of cinema, (this is now me taking off with idealist conception of film, inspired, mistaken, from the ideas of movement in still images: an image i venture though not yet having read deleuze on this, where we say that the illusion of motion can be created by playing through any indefinite number of still-images or 'frames' slightly different than those 'before' and those 'after'- but what is in fact the illusion? not motion. not time. no, it is the individual 'frames'! motion is the real. the real of time is not the punctuated 'frames', for we can no more catch this real than we can catch an arrow in flight exactly 'here' or 'there') (obviously I have to read some deleuze)... (okay now 2016 i have read more on deleuze and his works cinema 1 and cinema 2, and he is more interested in how film is thought in action, is technology, is form of thinking that literally describes how we have ever thought, and how b's 'images' are beyond materialism and idealism, are so close, so immanent, that there is no gap of 'representation', no transcendent, secular or not, but only immanence... this is great stuff)... motion, life, is 'duration'. however many times we think to have captured, have divided it, we have caught only the illusion of stillness- never motion. hence time is duration. how can we say this time goes from now to... then, without absolutely, now and ever, in any technology- 'spatializing' that which is time. i recall an artist, manet or someone, just at the time photographs were invented, insisting that a photo depicting a racehorse was less 'real' than a painting because it did not portray the movement of the racehorse and this is what is 'real'! and how much an error to chop up each moment as if they were not all together by nature, by song, a process of duration... from the immediate and psychological of our sense of time, to the nature of that world in which we are enmeshed. everything has its duration. there is achilles stride and the tortoise's stride, both unbroken qualitative duration, no zeno's paradox unless you refuse to recognize time is not space...for 'multiplicity' i return to a review already written, in which bergson describes his concept not 'captured' in metaphors, not indicated in metonyms, but alive in what he refers to as 'images', an end run around apparent dualism of matter and mind, where he insists there is only our world of 'images', and no conflict,, comes the image of two reels of an ancient tape machine, where the one reels to the other, becoming less (future) as the other (past) becomes more: this represents the unbroken continuity of time but mistakenly suggests time is something of the same 'material' that could in theory be 'rewound' or layered on itself. second, there is the image of a spectrum, which does in image represent some material variety, some qualitative change in time from past to future, some continuous variation of colours (time), a multiplicity: but here is considered already made and essentially spatial. third, comes the image of stretching an elastic material, which suggests how this material (time) is continuous variations in tension, how the past, the present, the future, are all of one unbroken form, a unity: but does not allow how it becomes different not simply in tension, in place again spatial, so must join the others as 'partial' images of time. i love these 'fluid' gestures, these 'images', that try to 'capture' bergson's ontological conception through time, this 'multiplicity' in 'unity'...there is the fascinating way in which bergson suggests how 'realism' versus 'idealism' is a mistaken conflict, how both ignore duration of time, the multiplicity of the real, but do not know if this argument is one i understand- it seems too logical, too obvious, that it is confusing to me that there is still dispute. what little i understand seems to be on how materialism introduces a magic layer of unspoken ideas, where what is perceived, what is apparent real, requires another such layer to be effectively transferred into the 'ideas' with which the mind deals. and then idealism is self-refuting because it needs representation to act in a non-causal way, to contain the world all in the brain, the mind, rather than the brain in the world. this is also interrogating that invented worry about how the 'substances' of mind and matter interact, which for me reinforces that all thought, all sense, should travel from the real to the mind, not the other way round. but have to here admit i do not have the argument down. just more to read...there are several other ideas in this book but one i felt particularly great, an explanation that grows out of both these big ideas, is what bergson calls 'memory of the present and false recognition', what we might term 'deja vu': and this is revealed not as some remarkable paranormal supernatural gift but by his interpretation of duration of time, multiplicity of reality, the facts of memory and moments. simply, bergson suggests that in every moment, every act, the faculty of memory is busy 'recording' this moment as memory- so, sometimes, in error, the conscious mind refers to the representation of becoming-memory rather than whatever we call absolute 'now' so we think it is previously sensed...begson goes on, and here i offer only titles from each book: 'creative evolution'- the endurance of life, mechanism and finalism, life as creative change, 'duration and simultaneity'- concerning the nature of time, 'the creative mind'- the possible and the real, philosophical intuition, perception of change, pragmatism of william james, introduction to metaphysics, 'bergson and kant'- beyond the noumenal, 'two sources of morality and religion'- morality, obligation, and the open soul, and frenzy, mechanism, mysticism...ends with various letters, but for me the great work are the first two books- 'time and free will', 'matter and memory'- and then encouraged to read 'creative evolution' (particularly non-scientistic evading darwinian interpretation of development of life forms, so dismissed by biologists) this is something i will read parts of again and again. i can even feel i begin to understand deleuze. bergson does talk of the world, of thought, as always more than we first grasp- so read again, read again...

  • Barış Özgür
    2019-04-08 08:44

    bu kitaptaki çoğu makale husserl'in metodolojik katkısıyla heidegger'in kariyeri oluyor sonunda. descartes le deuxième à la kant.

  • Tero Nauha
    2019-04-07 03:02

    A good selection of Bergson writings, a good introduction to well-selected chapters.