Creative Evolution (book review) Henri Bergson

240716: i do not know what to say about this work, i do not follow it all, it might be closer to a 3, but the writing is very good. the introduction hails bergson as 'the most serious philosopher of life of the 20th century...', and makes a good argument for his continuing relevance, his unique approach, all of it down to his approach to time- 'duree'- and valourization of 'intuition'. as i am not studying him but have read a few by and a few on bergson, i can see how difficult, how contrary, his way of understanding 'intellect' and thereby 'science', as beholden to physics/geometry, that has no sympathy for living creation- the 'impetus' that manifests itself through evolution, that leads from single-cells to the great division between plant and animal, then the effective, practical, development of nervous system and then brain, enabling/informing motion...


the early chapters, the philosophical take on evolution, i found difficult and opposing what little i do know about the theory- eventually i began to see bergson is working not on the matrices of usual 'evolutionary biology' but on the philosophical concept of 'life'. this is not simply organic forms diversifying, sustaining, surviving through environmental changes, 'adapting', but how 'life' is truly creative, always new, always responsive, though his contention humans are somehow an evolutionary 'peak' seems mistaken. this seems an introduction of 'telos', a religious idea, insistence that there is a 'direction' to evolution, that we adapt through generations often in a 'neo-lamarckian' manner, we are the final result... as if evolution is now halted. this probably loses most evolutionary biologists if not scientists in general...


i do like his latter chapters, particularly the 'cinematographical mechanism of thought...', though i do not know how accurate is his dismissal/inquiry on the concept of 'nothing', mainly these were ideas i had read before, encouraging to remember, and certainly all the other reading on bergson was very helpful. the summation is heartening, as he goes through some history of philosophy to get there (plato, aristotle, descartes, leibniz, spinoza, kant, spencer), to his central idea: scientific knowledge is not the only or best way to live in the world, despite its obvious practical efficacy, in for example science, that the ideal of freedom is not met through mechanistic/geometric/spatial views, the ideal is met through the intuition/duration/creativity of time...

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