Anti-Intellectualism: Bergson and Contemporary Encounters

In Mark Sinclair & Yaron Wolf (eds.), The Bergsonian Mind. Routledge (2021)
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Though one of anti-intellectualism’s key historical figures, Henri Bergson’s thought has not played a significant role in ongoing discussions of that topic. This paper attempts to help change this situation by discussing the notion at the centre of Bergson’s anti-intellectualism (namely, intuition) alongside the notion at the centre of a central form of contemporary anti-intellectualism (namely, know-how or skill). In doing so, it focuses on perhaps the most common objection to both Bergson and contemporary anti-intellectualists: that their anti-intellectualisms are rather forms of irrationalism. It argues that in fact only a narrow charge of irrationalism applies to Bergsonian intuition and that a form of contemporary anti-intellectualism may offer help in responding to this remaining accusation.

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Matt Dougherty
University of Vienna


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