Synthese 198 (11):10273-10288 (2020)

Peter Kügler
University of Innsbruck
The debate between Einstein and Bergson is a salient episode in the history of modern physics and a telling example of the interaction between science and philosophy. This paper initially discusses five reasons why Bergson criticised Einstein for giving up absolute time. The most important one was Bergson’s commitment to an intuitionist, anti-Kantian metaphysics informed by common sense. Apart from that, he knew that the theory of special relativity permits “duration” in the form of the passage of proper time, to which Bergson referred as “real time”. Neither static eternalism nor dynamic eternalism are acceptable from Bergson’s philosophical perspective, which acknowledges the role of temporal experience and everyday thinking in addition to science and metaphysics. He understood temporal passage as creation of new existence, anticipating what later became known as the growing block theory of time. The pointy relativistic variant of this theory, which divides the universe into blocks of growing past light cones, does justice to large parts of his philosophy, including the distinction between the actual and the virtual. Supporters of Bergson’s account of duration should adopt this theory of time.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02716-x
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References found in this work BETA

Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Scientific Thought.C. D. Broad - 1923 - Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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