Research into Bergson’s philosophy downplays a key development in his first work, Time and free will. It is there that Bergson explicitly opposes himself to Kant by arguing that succession is not a temporal concept, but a spatial one. This is the crucial point of departure for Bergson’s entire philosophy, one that allows him to radically dismiss Kant’s notion of freedom in favor of one based on duration and multiplicity. This text has two aims. Firstly to add to (...) Bergson scholarship by explicating the structure and force of Bergson’s initial argument against Kant, demonstrating that his engagement with Kant is much less incremental than has been suggested in secondary literature. Secondly, to reconstruct the consequences regarding freedom that Bergson immediately draws in departing from Kant, which illustrates the profundity and originality of his thought at the very inception of his oeuvre. (shrink)
In his temporal philosophy based on the writing of Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze describes duration ( durée ) as a becoming that endures in time. Reifications of this complex philosophical concept become artistically expressed, I argue, in the form and content of South African artist William Kentridge's series of 'charcoal drawings for projection.' These exhibited art works provide intriguing and illuminating 'philosophical' examples of animated audio-visual media, which expressively plicate distinct images of movement and time. The composition (...) of Kentridge's films at once illuminate a regime of animated 'movement-images' that can trace their aetiological roots to classical forms of film and animation, whilst concurrently folding in complex philosophical expressions of time as duration which invoke the crystalline 'time-image' concepts of philosophers such as Bergson and Deleuze, as well as literary authors like Marcel Proust. Over and above these co-existent regimes of movement and time, Kentridge's artistic technique and exhibition practices further expose a multifarious 'geology' of other embedded time lines that serve to enrich/complicate these temporal expressions. I argue here that diegetic time- and movement-images ostensibly co-exist alongside different 'archaeologies' of time relevant to the context and creation of the artworks. For this reason, the animated drawings formulate intriguing artistic/philosophical expressions that muse on the nature of matter, memory, time and space. (shrink)
I use Jonathan Bennett’s, Gilles Deleuze’s and Pierre Macherey’s interpretations of Spinoza to extract a theory of time and duration from Spinoza. I argue that although time can be considered a product of the imagination, duration is a real property of existing things and corresponds to their essence, taking essence (as Deleuze does) as a degree of power of existing. The article then explores the relations among time, duration, essence and eternity, arguing against the (...) idea that Spinoza’s essences or Spinoza’s eternity are atemporal. Essences and eternity both involve necessary references to time, but the time involved is not that of the “fortuitous sequence of events” apprehended through sensory experience. Rather, the “time” is that implicit in the necessity of God’s self-determination through God’s differentiation into natura naturans and natura naturata, which is involved in the production and differentiation of eternal essences. (shrink)
Descartes' account of the material world relies heavily on time. Most importantly, time is a component of speed, which figures in his fundamental conservation principle and laws. However, in his most systematic discussion of the concept, time is treated as some-how reducible both to thought and to motion. Such reductionistic views, while common among Descartes' late scholastic contemporaries, are very ill-suited to Cartesian physics. I show that, in spite of the apparent identifications with thought and motion, Cartesian (...)time retains—in the form of what I will call 'successive duration'—precisely the intrinsic structure necessary to serve as an independent parameter of quantitative physics. As is often the case with Descartes, he gives the impression of embracing traditional doctrines while in fact radically transforming the underlying concepts to serve his scientific agenda. His theory of time, though formulated in Aristotelian terms, anticipates Newton in important respects. (shrink)
The literature on time perception is discussed. This is done with reference both to the ''cognitive-timer'' model for time estimation and to the subjective experience of apparent duration. Three assumptions underlying the model are scrutinized. I stress the strong interplay among attention, arousal, and time perception, which is at the base of the cognitive-timer model. It is suggested that a multiplicative function of two key components (the number of subjective time units and their size) should (...) predict apparent duration. Implications for other cognitive domains are drawn, and in particular an analogy is suggested between apparent duration and apparent movement. (shrink)
In his recent book The Stream of Consciousness, Dainton provides what must surely count as one of the most comprehensive discussions of time-consciousness in analytical philosophy. In the course of doing so, he also challenges Husserl's classical account in a number of ways. In the following contribution, I will compare Dainton's and Husserl's respective accounts. Such a comparison will not only make it evident why an analysis of time-consciousness is so important, but will also provide a neat opportunity (...) to appraise the contemporary relevance of Husserl's analysis. How does it measure up against one of the more recent analytical accounts? (shrink)
In this paper, I study one aspect of the philosophical encounter between Spinoza and Hegel: the question of the reality of time. The precise reconstruction of the debate will require a close examination of Spinoza's concept of tempus (time) and duratio (duration), and Hegel's understanding of these notions. Following a presentation of Hegel's perception of Spinoza as a modern Eleatic, who denies the reality of time, change and plurality, I turn, in the second part, to look (...) closely at Spinoza's text and show that Hegel was wrong in reading Spinoza as denying the reality of duration and change. Ironically, Hegel's misreading of Spinoza as denying the reality of duration and change has been compensated for by a reading of Hegel as denying the reality of time by one of Hegel's most prominent followers, John Ellis McTaggart. I discuss McTaggart's reading of Hegel's Logic in the final part of the paper. (shrink)
Are there illusions of duration? Certainly, many experiences of an event’s duration differ from its measure in clock duration, the measure of that event in seconds, minutes, hours, and so forth. However, I argue that an illusory duration requires more than difference from a real duration; it requires difference from a duration that is relevant to experience. It is plausible to hold that there are many kinds of real duration and reason to question (...) the relevance of all of them. In particular, the interpretation of experienced duration as illusory is typically because it is compared to clock time; the experience of duration goes wrong by being different from a clock measurement of duration. -/- However, I argue that clock duration is not obviously relevant to evaluating the experience of duration. One might hold that it is plausible to evaluate experience by clock duration because clocks more closely match reality than experiences do; on the scale of experience, clock time is no different to real duration. It is not that experienced duration is an illusion because it is merely different from clock duration; it is an illusion because it is different from real duration and we know this because of its difference from clock duration. It is like illusions of size: some object seems to be a size it is not, and we know this by comparing it to an object we can otherwise accurately measure by meters. -/- However, unlike size illusions, it is not clear what the ‘real duration’ is against which we should evaluate apparent duration. What is meant by ‘real duration’ involves either (a) an appeal to the duration of substantial absolute time or (b) some kind of duration in things, e.g., duration which is the measure of change in some kind of process. (a) is an irrelevant duration; few positions hold that we experience absolute time. As for (b), if real duration is a measure of change, then, for experienced duration to match clock duration, they must both agree on the relevant change. If there is a difference in what is treated as the real duration, then neither experience nor clocks can be treated as evaluable in terms of the other. -/- Finally, we may have an illusory duration because there are cases of variation between experiences of the same duration. Yet, even here, we may be misled; we may not be directly comparing experiences. We compare the experienced durations through first measuring each in terms of clock duration. If there is a variability in the relationship between clock standard and some relevant standard for experience, then one expects anything accurately meeting one standard to differ from anything accurately meeting the other. The error is holding there is a stable relationship between the standards. This error is not a matter of our experience of duration, and so is not an illusion of duration. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that adjusting Stump and Kretzmann’s “atemporal duration” with la durée, a key concept in the philosophy of Henri Bergson, can respond to the most significant objections aimed at Stump and Kretzmann’s re-interpretation of Boethian eternity. This paper deals with three of these objections: the incoherence of the notion of “atemporal duration,” the impossibility of this duration being time-like, and the problems involved in conceiving it as being related to (...) temporal duration by a relation of analogy. I conclude that “atemporal duration” — when combined with Bergson’s durée to become an “atemporal durée” — is a coherent understanding of divine eternity. (shrink)
Overview of some of the key philosophical problems encountered making sense of the notion of "subjective time", with a focus on the experience of duration. The paper unpacks some of the assumptions behind an intuitive picture of duration experience I call the "simple flow" view, highlighting the availability of alternative models. It then considers a number of obstacles to providing an account of the individuation of subjective features of duration experience.
Henri Bergson is perhaps most remembered for his bold challenge to Einstein's theory of the relativity of simultaneity. Bergson maintained that Einstein's theory did not cope with our intuition of time, which is an intuition of duration. Einstein retorted that there may be psychological time, but there is no special philosopher's time. For Einstein, time forms the fourth dimension of a so-called Parmenidean "block universe". I argue that we must be on our guard not to (...) read into the work of even greatest intellectual predecessors ideas and levels of sophistication that we take for granted in modern theories. For example, it would be silly to suggest that Democritus's atomic theory - though important in the development of the testable modern atomic theory - has anything new to say about modern quantum theory. (shrink)
I attempt to show, via considering Schlesinger’s device of putting the word ‘now’ in capitals, that the transient view of time can explicate temporal extensivity without presupposing it, and the static view can’t. The argument hinges on the point that duration is generated by continuance of the present—such that ‘the present’ here is used in a nontechnical, nonindexical, and nonreflexive sense, which Schlesinger and others unknowingly give to the word ‘now’ (by “NOW” or “Now” or “’now’”).
_ Source: _Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 1 - 18 This essay addresses time’s dissemination both in the sense of an undoing or fracturing of unifying conceptions of time, as well as in the sense of ‘scattering seeds’ by conceiving of manifold temporalizing configurations of living beings, things, and events without an overarching sense of time. After a consideration of traditional conceptions of time, this essay explores the notion of duration in Bergson in order to (...) make it fruitful for thinking duration without centering it in human consciousness. The author suggests that we can begin to think the temporal happening of things and events in terms of different temporal configurations of various degrees and qualities of complexity that may be occasioned by chance, whereby chance is understood as the freeing of time-spaces of indeterminacy in which temporal configurations take shape or manifest themselves. 1. (shrink)
Heidegger claims in Being and Time that Bergson fails to overcome traditional ontology because his concept of time is fundamentally Aristotelian. On the basis of this hasty dismissal, it is tempting to conclude that Heidegger was not terribly interested in Bergson or that he only wanted to prevent readers from confusing his view of time with Bergson’s. To the contrary, a survey of Heidegger’s early lectures and writings on the issue of time reveals a strong interest (...) in Bergson and an acknowledgement of his importance as a pivotal thinker concerning time. In fact, Heidegger appropriates key aspects of Bergsonism, such as Bergson’s way of contrasting the measurement of time and its experiential origins, revealing that his ambivalence toward Bergson initially arises from concerns about his method and his concept of life rather than his understanding of time. (shrink)
The article exposes Husserl’s theory of time and provides its detailed comparison with theories of time of I. Kant and F. Brentano. The author first examines the general principles of the phenomenological theory of consciousness, and then analyzes the time concept of F. Brentano and Husserl’s criticism of these ideas, and eventually makes a comparison of Husserl’s and Kant’s theories of time. The author is inclined to conclude that progress in the interpretation of the time (...) made by Husserl, is largely external, based on unacceptable epistemological principles. Critique of these principles the author plans to carry out in one of the next issues of the magazine. (shrink)
Following the 1988 publication of Bergsonism by Gilles Deleuze, many contemporary critics such as Leonard Lawlor and Paul Douglass have re-contextualized Bergson within poststructuralism. In so doing, Bergsonian theory enables us to readdress questions associated with concepts of temporality and their relation to language. In considering this re-appropriation, Suzanne Guerlac in Thinking in Time: an introduction to Henri Bergson (2006), asks why Bergson has never been considered in relation to Derrida, given that the two philosophers share fundamental concerns about (...)time and writing. Following Derrida’s critique of Husserl in La Voix et le phénomène (1967), it is perhaps the case that many critics categorize Bergson as a phenomenologist. However, I aim to develop the argument that Guerlac instigates and show that Derrida’s critique of Husserl in fact establishes a close proximity with Bergson’s view that Western metaphysics suppresses time as durée . I will show how both Bergson and Derrida operate with the understanding of a particular rupture in the full presence of the present, an expansion of consciousness as a ‘now’ to include a constant deferral to memory. While this overlap establishes an affinity, I conclude by showing that it simultaneously marks a point of diffraction with regard to how both seek to methodologically embody such a concept of time. (shrink)