Henri Bergson by Vladimir Jankélévitch

By Vladimir Jankélévitch

Appearing right here in English for the 1st time, Vladimir Jankélévitch's Henri Bergson is without doubt one of the nice commentaries written on Henri Bergson. Gilles Deleuze's Bergsonism renewed curiosity within the nice French thinker yet did not contemplate Bergson's experiential and non secular views. right here Jankélévitch covers all elements of Bergson's suggestion, emphasizing the techniques of time and length, reminiscence, evolution, simplicity, love, and pleasure. a chum of Bergson's, Jankélévitch first released this publication in 1931 and revised it in 1959 to regard Bergson's later works. This unabridged translation of the 1959 variation comprises an editor's creation, which contextualizes and descriptions Jankélévitch's interpreting of Bergson, extra essays on Bergson through Jankélévitch, and Bergson's letters to Jankélévitch.

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Nobody would believe it if it openly claimed to get “from the elements” to the soul, to life, to freedom and all the other valuable things that we can only discover if we start with them. To deceive us, those who reverse the genealogical order of experience must willy-­nilly anticipate, at each step, on what is to follow. This surreptitious anticipation is truly the mechanicist conjuring par excellence. Since every explanation descends– it explains matters by proceeding a fortiori or from stronger reasons and it necessarily goes from more to less—­the mechanicists’ philosophy-­in-­ reverse functions only by taking from superior realities that with which it feeds the explanations it gives of these very realities!

It is that which continues innumerable contents, continues the ones through the ­others; these contents, together, form at any moment the current state of our interior person. ​ Not that memory is literally the thesaurization or capitalization of recollections. Philippe Fauré-­Fremiet has lucidly shown that memory is the exercise of an ability rather than the augmentation of a possession, that it is the “re-­creation” or active actualization of the past rather than a recording of this past. Bergson himself, hostile as he is to spatial meta­ phors, refuses to consider the brain as a receptacle of images and refuses to consider these images as contents in a container, and he is certainly not ­going to turn time itself into a receptacle for recollections!

There is no chance we will encounter an emotion on the path of our deduction ­unless we give ourselves this emotion at the outset in its entirety, in its specificity, and its irreducible originality. In opposition to “reductionism,” to the mania of reducing... or deducing, Bergson wants every experience, every prob­lem to be thought apart and for itself as if it ­were by itself. Nothing is won, therefore, by engendering one living reality from another: instinct from intelligence, recollection from habit, the ­human from the animal, the complete emotion from the embryonic one.

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