Matter and Memory (book review) Henri Bergson,

W. Scott Palmer (Translator),

Nancy Margaret Paul (Translator)


180914 this is a much later addition: rather than read this again, or read about it- i have decided to read [book:Creative Evolution|379659] the last of his big books. the u library does not have much bergson, as i thinkthe teaching focus is here primarily analytic. such does not encourage me in thought as much as rereading the first chapter here…


030912 first review: this is 3rd book i have read by henri bergson, published first in 1896. i think it w be better as a study text rather than attempting

to read it like any work of fiction because, of course, this is not fiction but philosophy. even in translation from french, this has some beautiful writing, and i can certainly see how it could be widely read, admired, worked on, and how it could have such affect on merleau-ponty for example. have not read it, but apparently deleuze wrote a book that started reappraisal of bergson, so something to get... (now read [book:Bergsonism|203326])…


yes beautiful writing, but it took me several readings to get through, rereading his longer sentences heavy with clauses and subclauses, with qualifications, with determinations not only negative but positive. the theme seems to be that scientific reasoning and ontology is not the best way to understand human experience of living, how materialism and idealism are both self-defeating, indeed contradicting themselves, and he does refer to some philosophers of common reading- berkeley, kant- but insists all their attempts to surpass the endemic problems are doomed to failure, simply because they operate of a metaphysics of space and not time...


yes beautiful writing, yes helpful i had read those several books on bergson before this- i had read the first 77 pages one long flight, but when i landed i did not read on and when i returned home i did not resume. so here, a year later, i reread the 77 pages, then went on. i do not know if this is the right way to read philosophy but it helped with bergson, because i could now sense how time is the nature of in-extensive thought, how memory works...


but this is all in subjective discovery, as i thought of time, thought of begson's arguments, how pure perception is misunderstood as being only a difference of degree, from memory, from thought, where the perceived is out in the objective world, how time is misunderstood on the common model of space, how time is heterogeneous and space, of any conception, is homogenous. he has answers for zeno's paradoxes of movement such as achilles and the turtle, such as the arrow in flight, for these are examples of misunderstanding time as a succession of infinitely divisible, atomistic, points, rather than of duration...


yes at the moment- at this duration- i am interested in time, and wonder how this might persist and change when no longer hostage to an essential dualism of physical and psychical, this third conception of the world that exceeds our physical perception but not therefore considered beyond reality because it is beyond that hill- so how can we say these moments- these durations- are not real also despite being beyond our perception? science gives us an infinite space, does this also mean infinite time? well this precedes einstein so i do not know...


yes there are questions- but do i read philosophy for something like answers complete or absolute, or answers leading to further questions? i think of my 3 times rule for all aesthetic experiences: 1- the first time any pleasure is heightened by novelty, 2- any pleasure pales in memory of the first time, 3- pleasure now abstracted from novelty or jadedness, now independent of time...


yes there is great thought in here. i think it would be easy to read, to understand, but then i have read a lot of philosophy and on him- bergson- in particular, so maybe i am wrong. maybe trying to write an essay might clarify my difficulties with full grasp of his arguments, but it is enough that i will go on to read more of bergson...

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