Bergson and perspectivism
Mullarkey, John (1993) Bergson and perspectivism. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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This study is an exploration of the place of perspectivism in the philosophy of Henri
Bergson. His work is compared with that of Thomas Nagel in terms of the mutual
concern of these two philosophers to reconcile our increasingly objecti vist and
impersonal understanding of reality with the perspectival apprehension of the world that
living and conscious beings instantiate. It argues that Bergson's philosophy of time
holds the key both to comprehending and to balancing the demands made upon us by
these conflicting interests.
It is seldom that Bergson's name is thought of in this connection, his concerns more
often than not being identified with some thesis about time, movement, or vital forces.
One purpose of the present work, therefore, is to contest this interpretive slant, not
merely by offering an alternative image of Bergson, but also by critically exploring his
employment of perspectivism (both positive and negative). We pursue this goal through
the double strategy of both unravelling the inconsistencies in Bergson's· treatment of
perspective and separating his own argument from the multitude of myths, opinions, and
interpretations, sympathetic and unsympathetic, that have arisen around what is currently
understood by "Bergsonism".
In retrieving his thought from such philosophical ghettoes as "vitalism," "spiritualism,"
and "psychologism," we will argue for a Bergsonian perspectivism which ultimately
resides in a thesis propounding the primacy of perception. One consequence of this is the
demotion of memory's importance within his thought. Not that the orthodox image of
Bergsonism that retains the privileged place of memory is wrong. Rather, we argue that
there is enough in Bergson's peculiar picture of perception to obviate the need for
memory in his philosophy, and, moreover, that it is actually more Bergsonian that
memory should be so discharged.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Perspective (Philosophy), Bergson, Henri, 1859-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation|
|Official Date:||November 1993|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Philosophy|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Wood, David, 1946-|
|Sponsors:||British Academy ; University of Warwick ; University College, London. Dept. of Philosophy|
|Extent:||vii, 232 p.|
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