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Time and reality in the thought of Henri Bergson

Mirko Di Bernardo

pp. 39-57

This chapter discusses the problem of time in the thought of Bergson, showing how the evolution of the concept of duration is conducive to new developments in the philosophy of intuition. Duration, which in the Essay connotes the experience of a non-measurable lived experience, while in Matter and Memory it assumes rhythms of different intensities to justify the relationship between perception and memory, as well as in Creative Evolution is judged as the fabric of reality itself, in Duration and Simultaneity it is posited not only as a criterion to discern what is real and what is artificial, but also to justify the measurement of reality, that is to say, to restore the point of contact between time as duration and space, that seemed previously compromised by the loss of ontological consistency of extension as the dimension of the body. In this paper, then, Bergson, also by virtue of a controversial, detailed comparison with the theory of relativity, finally arrives to support the hypothesis of a single temporal dimension, curved and dynamic, where space comes to be outlined as the abstract tangent of time. It is at this level, then, that it becomes possible to examine the emergence of the concepts within the meanders of intuition as concepts imbued with meaning: here is the primary source of that continuous "added" element of new nuclei of creativity that characterizes the very logic of Bergsonian living where what, as ideal relationship, is time, as a real relationship, becomes life, i.e., the continuous opening of a register in which time is inscribed, becoming incarnate thus in the very nature of every organism.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-24895-0_6

Full citation:

Di Bernardo, M. (2016)., Time and reality in the thought of Henri Bergson, in F. Santoianni (ed.), The concept of time in early twentieth-century philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 39-57.

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