By David Kreps
It is a e-book approximately evolution from a post-Darwinian viewpoint. It recounts the middle rules of French thinker Henri Bergson and his rediscovery and legacy within the poststructuralist serious philosophies of the Nineteen Sixties, and explores the confluences of those principles with these of complexity concept in environmental biology.
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Extra resources for Bergson, Complexity and Creative Emergence
17 In Bergson’s time this neuroscience was in its infancy; but he could see even then that, philosophically, it would always be examining, through the scientific method, the objective reality of the brain: it would never gain access to the mind. The ‘inner’ against which all the ‘outer’ are opposed, in these ontological views of the universe, seems not to have any place in it, beyond being where ‘we’ reside, and undertake our thinking and 22 Bergson, Complexity and Creative Emergence our feeling – whether or not we favour one over the other.
So, if perception – linked to the perception-action flow in a biological chain from the external object on the periphery to the action centre in the brain, and thereby back through the nervous system into action – is limited to what is useful, and is essentially physical – a part of the material world, and something which is interrupted by consciousness in order that a choice may be made – what, then, is consciousness? For Bergson it can only be something that is not material, that is different in kind from the matter that it interrupts, albeit but one side of the coin of existence.
As with many of his ideas, he is at pains to reassure us that, of course, the opposites that he describes are never found alone, purely one or purely the other, but always, in reality, in combination. This is as true of space and duration as it is of other pairs he describes here, such as quality and quantity, affective and representative sensations, and so on. Yet, for the purposes of his argument, he asks us to imagine each half of these pairs in its pure state, in order better to understand it, and in order then, once considering their combination, to better understand how they differ in kind, rather than in degree – another of his favourite distinctions.
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