Metaphysics in Gaston Bachelard's “reverie”

Human Studies 20 (1):59 - 73 (1997)
This paper aims to trace the evolution of Bachelard''s thought as he gropes toward a concrete formulation of a philosophy of the imagination. Reverie, the creative daydream, occupies the central position in Bachelard''s emerging metaphysic, which becomes increasingly phenomenological in a manner reminiscent of Husserl. This means that although Bachelard does not use Husserlian terms, he appropriates the following features of (Husserlian) phenomenology: 1. a desire to embracket the initial (rationalistic) impulse; and 2. an aspiration to apprehend in its entirety, the creative epiphany of an image. Ultimately, this paper aims to show that there is a sense in which Bachelard''s metaphysical concerns in his poetics are an outgrowth of (rather than radical break from) his earlier scientific and epistemological concerns. What results in reverie is an aesthetic intentionality providing a metaphysic of the imagination: the aesthetic object, such as fire or water, is an object only insofar as it enables/calls forth a subject to enter into a receptive, self-aware and cosmic state of being; subject-ness and object-ness are intimately and archetypally intertwined. Bachelard''s new poetics results from his transplantation/cross-fertilization of the general epistemology of the new scientific spirit on to/across his aesthetics.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Modern Philosophy   Philosophy of the Social Sciences   Political Philosophy   Sociolinguistics
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DOI 10.1023/A:1005329900220
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