A Phenomenological Defense of Bergson’s “Idealistic Concession”

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Abstract
When summarizing the findings of his 1896 Matter and Memory, Bergson claims: “That every reality has... a relation with consciousness—this is what we concede to idealism.” Yet Bergson’s 1896 text presents the theory of “pure perception,” which, since it accounts for perception according to the brain’s mechanical transmissions, apparently leaves no room for subjective consciousness. Bergson’s theory of pure perception would appear to render his idealistic concession absurd. In this paper, I attempt to defend Bergson’s idealistic concession. I argue that Bergson’s account of cerebral transmissions at the level of pure perception necessarily entails a theory of temporality, an appeal to a theory of time-consciousness that justifies his idealistic concession.
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ISBN(s)
1085-1968
PhilPapers/Archive ID
KELAPD-2
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First archival date: 2017-04-18
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