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Duration, Temporality, Self

Prospects for the Future of Bergsonism

Elena Fell

What is the nature of time? This new study engages with the philosophy of Henri Bergson on time and proposes a new way of thinking about the effects of future events on the past. According to Bergson, time is an integral feature of real things, just as much as their material or size. When a flower grows, it takes a period of real time for it to flourish, which cannot be quickened or slowed down, nor can it be eliminated from the process of growth. Bergson named this real time ‘duration’ and argued that everything and everyone exist as duration, and that internal processes flow into one another, with no clear boundaries that separate one phase of duration from another. According to Bergson’s philosophy, the past does not disappear but smoothly flows into the present, forming an indivisible dynamic unity. But what if the causal flow of temporal reality is not unidirectional? What if not only past events influence future ones, but future ones in their turn have retrospective effect on past occurrences? The author of this book analyses these key questions, asserts that the changeability of the past follows from Bergson’s theory of time and proposes a theory of embodied time that involves the retrospective enrichment of reality.


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Tables and Diagrams


Table 1 Hypostases of duration 14 Table 2 Bergson’s view on time and space 123 Diagram 1 Conceptual framework of Bergson’s philosophy 10 Diagram 2 Emergence of volition 28 Diagram 3 The evolutionary development of consciousness 69 Diagram 4 Consciousness in the world 82 Diagram 5 The state of af fairs at time t 107 Diagram 6 The state of af fairs at time t’ 107 Diagram 7 Bergson’s view of temporal reality 202 Diagram 8 Our view of temporal reality 202 Diagram 9 Planes of the past 203 Diagram 10 Temporal slicing of reality reveals leaps between earlier and later 205 Diagram 11 Temporal reality augmenting as time passes, and our observation positions 206

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