Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual (book review) Keith Ansell-Pearson

Bergson and the Time of Life


111117 this is a much much later addition (4 years): reading this a second time. gave it five first time 291213 but not a review. so i read it again...


first review, second reading: this is a strong five. even after almost 4 years reading other philosophy, this exegesis of philosophy of henri bergson is fascinating, much of it through the lens of deleuze, but also interrogations of other names, and certainly gives b thorough investigation. though again i am reading this more as an appreciation than arguments against, reading this like a novel, with ideas as characters and evolution of ideas as plot...


i have just finished reading it again, motivated to read certain other texts by dz, reread certain texts by b, and critically revalue all the phenomenonologists i have read before, and the few indic philosophical works, and some Buddhism, for this engenders many interesting concepts to read. the concept of the 'virtual' is opposed not to the 'real' but the 'actual', and is more or less as in common critical usage something that is 'as if', something not lacking reality, as in the 'possible', but fully its own becoming when subsumed in being 'actualized'. this is when the quote from Proust is so useful to remember, the reference to memory: 'real but not actual, ideal but not abstract'...


i do not know if this is actually a five, perhaps only 'virtually' a five, perhaps not so to professional philosophers and not so to laypeople who have less than no interest in philosophy. as an investigation of b i cannot pretend to fully understand it all. it is just fun to read it. from the 'superior empiricism' to the 'duration' that characterize b, there is this other kind of continental philosophy, other than the usual continental phenomenonology or the angst of existentialism, this seems to address a way in the world of 'how' that evades 'positivistic' disputes and searches for something beyond kantian or hegelian or humean 'presuppositions' about how to do philosophy or understand the world...


the argument against kant is familiar, maybe i first read it here: freedom is not some unknowable aspect of (mythical) 'thing-in-itself' but in 'time' as properly understood, time that resist symbolizing, is, as moods are, 'heterogenous' and different in 'kind' not 'degree', versus our natural, evolutionarily useful, tendency to imposing 'quantitative' and 'homogeneous' measure/being of 'spatializing' what is truly in time. we talk of 'more' or 'less' anger or love rather than fury to dislike to ambivalence, passion to friendliness to indifference...


ok, this is familiar ground that i recall from first reading this, actually 'more' difficult now that i have read much philosophy of various sorts, and so argue to myself as i read it- but not actually much more bergson as he is not much in the u library (111117: found more in high density library storage!). the author does address early on somewhat mistaken arguments such as from b russell, as much as kant, and is remarkably close to husserl's phenomenological concept of time (retention, protention, original impact...), but refuses the idea the mind must be 'of' something, rather it 'is' something...


so it is often a case of recall in rereading this. i did give it a five but no review the first time read, and by the graph i can see i read it more or less in order and in small sections. i enjoyed it then, i enjoyed it this time, though i found it at the start more difficult than 'merleau-ponty's ontology', for i have read so much on m-p (68) and of that by m-p (10), but i think it is, sometimes, more deleuze's bergson i like the most. there is extensive description of just what 'matter and memory' and 'creative evolution' are about, as well as nietzsche to the end, but all i can say is this is 'virtually' the best book i have read on bergson... there are so many books to read and so little time...

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

An Introduction to Henri Bergson 220701: (this is eleven years later reread) recent read (220625)[book:Bergson’s Philosophy of Self-Overcoming: Thinking without Negativity or Time as Striving|52736601

if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 220611: this is probably the most academically accurate of the translations I have read of this book, but still prefer commentary o