Prospects for the Future of Bergsonism
Chapter 5 Heterogeneous Duration
1 Heterogeneous Duration: Non-Numerical Multiplicity The brief exposition of the three major Bergsonian texts (see Chapters 2–4) demonstrates that his philosophy points towards a theory of the univer- sal principle of being – heterogeneous duration. However, this theory is incomplete because the discussion of duration is fragmented and its exem- plification as concrete modes of being is not systematic. We will attempt to develop a plausible version of heterogeneous duration, complying with Bergson’s key principles where possible, and then apply it to concrete reality. This chapter will be centred on the general metaphysical aspects of duration. The idea of heterogeneity is necessary to Bergson’s project of making a radical distinction between simultaneous and successive phenomena, which form the continuity of identity of a temporally stretched unity.1 The key dif ference between a spatially stretched unity with all its elements being simultaneous and a temporal unity is that, according to Bergson, the spatial unity can be divided into parts with clear spatial borders, whereas the temporal unity cannot be broken down into segments which can be regarded as separate from one another. Thus, he claims in Time and Free Will, the temporal continuity is indivisible. In Matter and Memory we learn that ultimately, spatial reality is also indivisible (MM, p. 196), because 1 Čapek of fers a thorough analysis of the Bergsonian heterogeneity with links to other key notions of the Bergsonian philosophy. See Čapek, Bergson and Modern Physics, 83–186, esp. 118–25; 142–51. A brief explanation of the...
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