Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke


291 Pages

ISBN 978-3-030-15486-8

Bergson's philosophy of self-overcoming

thinking without negativity or time as striving

Messay Kebede

This book proposes a new reading of Bergsonism based on the admission that time, conceived as duration, stretches instead of passes. This swelling time is full and so excludes the negative. Yet, swelling requires some resistance, but such that it is more of a stimulant than a contrariety. The notion of élan vital fulfills this requirement: it states the immanence of life to matter, thereby deriving the swelling from an internal effort and allowing its conceptualization as self-overcoming. With self-overcomingas the inner dynamics of reality, Bergson dismisses all forms of dualism and reductionist monism because both the absence of negativity and the swelling nature of time posit a creative process yielding a qualitatively diverse world. This graded oneness is how the lower level activates intensification by turning into limitation, making possible higher levels of achievement, in particular through the union of mind and body and the integration of openness and closed sociability.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-15487-5

Full citation:

Kebede, M. (2019). Bergson's philosophy of self-overcoming: thinking without negativity or time as striving, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Table of Contents


Kebede Messay


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Duration and self-striving

Kebede Messay


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Memory and the being of the subject

Kebede Messay


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Kebede Messay


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