Henri Bergson

Brown, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-7841-3225 and Lundy, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-6087-1161, 2020. Henri Bergson. In: V.P. Glăveanu, ed., The Palgrave encyclopedia of the possible. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783319983905 (Forthcoming)

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Henri Bergson (1859-1941) contributed major philosophical works on time, consciousness, evolution and morality. His thinking remains central to debates on fundamental issues within philosophy and social science, particular around ‘process ontology’. Bergson’s work was of enormous influence to early twentieth century social science, and seen a resurgence in the twenty first century. This is in part due to the reception of Gilles Deleuze’s work, which engaged extensively with Bergson. In this entry, we focus on Bergson’s treatment of the relationship between ‘the possible’ and ‘the real’. Bergson inverts the Platonic organization of these terms, where the real is constituted by the selection of ideal forms of possible. Bergson argues that this makes it impossible to understand how ‘unforseeable novelty’ might emerge in the world. The possible is instead a ‘mirage’ retrospectively posited as prior to the real. This treatment is part of a broader project of overcoming metaphysical mistakes which consist in seeing one philosophical terms as adding fullness and positivity to another. In its place, Bersgson offers an account of life as dynamic, autopoietic emergence. In the final part of the entry we describe how an engagement with Bergson can afford social science approaches to memory, imagination and lived experience as emergent patternings of life responding to life.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Brown, S. and Lundy, C.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Place of Publication: Cham
Date: 1 November 2020
ISBN: 9783319983905
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 10 Nov 2020 13:27
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:13
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/41582

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