Husserl, Deleuzean bergsonism and the sense of the past in general

Husserl Studies 24 (1):15-30 (2008)
Abstract
Those familiar with contemporary continental philosophy know well the defenses Husserlians have offered of Husserl’s theory of inner time-consciousness against post-modernism’s deconstructive criticisms. As post-modernism gives way to Deleuzean post-structuralism, Deleuze’s Le bergsonisme has grown into the movement of Bergsonism. This movement, designed to present an alternative to phenomenology, challenges Husserlian phenomenology by criticizing the most “important… of all phenomenological problems.” Arguing that Husserl’s theory of time-consciousness detailed a linear succession of iterable instants in which the now internal to consciousness receives prejudicial favor, Bergsonism concludes that Husserl derived the past from the present and cannot account for the sense of the past, which differs in kind from the present. Consequently, everything on Husserl’s account remains present and his theory cannot accommodate for time’s passage. In this paper, I renew the Husserlian defense of Husserl’s theory of time-consciousness in response to the recent movement of Deleuzean Bergsonism. Section one presents Bergsonism’s notion of the past in general and its critique of Husserl’s theory of time-consciousness. Section two presents a rejoinder to Bergsonism’s critique of Husserl, questioning (1) its understanding of the living-present as linearly extended, (2) its conflation of the living-present with Husserl’s early schema-apprehension interpretation, and (3) its failure to grasp Husserl’s revised understanding of primary memory as a result of (2). In conclusion, I suggest that Husserl’s theory of retention might articulate a notion of the past more consistent with Bergson than Bergsonism itself.
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