An Introduction to Metaphysics Paperback – 1 Nov 1999
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With its signal distinction between 'intuition' and 'analysis' and its exploration of the different levels of Duration (Bergson's term for Heraclitean flux), An Introduction to Metaphysics has had a significant impact on subsequent twentieth century thought. The arts, from post-impressionist painting to the stream of consciousness novel, and philosophies as diverse as pragmatism, process philosophy, and existentialism bear its imprint. Consigned for a while to the margins of philosophy, Bergson's thought is making its way back to the mainstream. The reissue of this important work comes at an opportune time, and will be welcomed by teachers and scholars alike. --Peter A. Y. Gunter, University of North Texas
About the Author
Henri Bergson; Translated by T E Hulme
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From the first page Bergson sets out his duality of analytic and intuitive types of knowledge. The analytic responds to its object by translation and approaches asymptotically by means of images and concepts ("symbols"), the intuitive is the subjective actuality of the thing, which he calls "absolute" and "perfect" for being itself, not an imperfect reflection.
He then ties this in to psychology; the analytic approach creates a man "clothed" in discrete and static "psychical states", rather than try to develop an intuitive awareness of the man, the duration of his personality and the underlying causes of his condition. Duration is the important aspect here; it is, for Bergson, the true reality (much like the flux of Heraclitus) and stasis is merely a flawed, human way of perceiving the world, a way that assumes some vested-interest or intention.
That we see the world in discrete positions or "suppositions" explains Zeno's `flighted arrow' paradox. For Zeno, an arrow in flight should actually be still, as any object occupying a space equal to itself must be at rest in that space; ergo at each moment of its flight the arrow is at rest. In response, Bergson argues it is the "supposition" of moments of flight upon the moving object that creates paradox.
To overcome this conceptual "frozen surface" and truly appreciate, by intuition, the world in and as motion "is extremely difficult.Read more ›