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Chapter 6 - Bergson, the Time of Life, and the Memory of the Universe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2019

Alexandre Lefebvre
Affiliation:
University of Sydney
Nils F. Schott
Affiliation:
Collège universitaire de SciencesPo
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Summary

In addressing Deleuze’s “New Bergson,” the chapter argues for reading Bergson, and his ontology of time in particular, in light of what we need to think today. The reading proposed here brings out Bergson’s consistent privileging of concrete experience over abstraction, his thinking of life, in particular in relation to time. To rectify his image as an anti-philosopher, the chapter highlights how his thought resonates both with the work of earlier philosophers (Schelling and Ravaisson in particular) and the task of thinking today. Rereading Duration and Simultaneity against Deleuze’s interpretation, which evacuates consciousness from universal time, the chapter stresses the central importance of consciousness, along with observation, perception, and lived experience, to Bergson’s philosophical challenge to Einstein. By no means, then, is Bergson’s achievement in the confrontation with Einstein some kind of abstract articulation of the virtual and the actual; rather, it lies in expanding his ontology of time from individual living beings to a universe that lives, in spelling it out in terms of a philosophy of livingness.

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Chapter
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Interpreting Bergson
Critical Essays
, pp. 104 - 120
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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