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Time and Free Will Paperback – 1 Nov 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Adamant Media Corporation (1 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402199392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402199394
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.6 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Bergson won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1927. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two stars not for the contents but the copy. This is a scanned copy with character recognition. I understood that this was going to be the case but I could not handle the typos although I tried. Could be OK for some.
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Format: Paperback
Bergson's works are always inspirational and the remarkable thing is that he doesn't assume anything, he always explains what is needed unlike the standard treatises on philosophy by other philosophers. It is never that much of an effort to read Bergson and as such it makes his works far more accessible than usual for a philosopher, probably one of the reasons he was all the rage in the early 20th Century; people can actually understand what he was talking about. What is the reason for this? I think much of it has to do with his unwillingness to separate his insights into distinct pieces as is the norm in philosophy. His essays tend to flow along nicely without being stuck in difficult terminology which must be remembered as you progress, anything such as the word duration which has a special significance in Bergson work becomes part of the flow of the essay rather than being in any way special it is always reinforced through the dialogue. Another interesting aspect is his lack of references to others, possibly a result of the French way of Education which encourages self reliance and expression as much as possible.

In this work, one of his earliest (1887), Bergson introduces his concept of duration which is less of a concept than a real lived sense that is happening in your life right at this moment. But first he introduces the reader to the intensities of psychic states such as beauty, grace, joy, sorrow, pain etc and how a misinterpretation of real lived experience gives rise to a way of philosophy which separates real duration, as it is experienced, into space-like time, this is also evident in feelings which are modified through the space-like construction of experience.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a neglected classic. Bergson's concept of time as a process, not as a dimension, should be required reading for those still trying to explain time in terms of static images (especially Minkowski diagrams). Those familiar with JW Dunne's work will recollect Dunne's criticism of Bergson as a proponent of the "growing past". This criticism was unfair; Bergson's concept is much richer than this, and is a true rival to Dunne's "infinite time series". Highly recommended.
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Challengingly stimulating, paragraph by .........
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 2.6 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the Dover edition... 17 Mar. 2012
By Brian C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are a lot of reviews here complaining about the edition. Unfortunately amazon tends to lump all editions together so I would just like to say that the negative reviews do not apply to the Dover edition (the edition with the blue cover and the profile picture of Bergson on it). I would highly recommend buying the Dover edition. I have read it twice and I did not encounter a single error either time through. It is also quite cheap.

The book itself is really excellent. Bergson was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth-century but he does not seem to have the stature today that he once had. I think there are probably a few reasons for that (the dominance of phenomenology in the Continental tradition and language analysis and symbolic logic in the analytic tradition, as well as the fact that Bergson tied some of his ideas to biological theories of his own time which have not held up well). There has been a resurgence of interest in Bergson to some degree which I think is at least partly due to Bergson's undoubted influence on Gilles Deleuze whose star is currently rising. Bergson had a tremendous influence on a whole host of important Continental philosophers (Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Deleuze, etc.) so, if for no other reason, he is worth reading as necessary background to those thinkers.

I happen to think that Bergson is worth studying in his own right and not just in terms of the influence he had on later philosophers. Bergson's primary preoccupation was with the nature of time and no one (including, I think, Husserl and Heidegger) spent as much time thinking about time as Bergson did. The nature of time is one of the most interesting, but also one of the most difficult, topics within metaphysics and Bergson had some very important things to say about it.

In Time and Free Will Bergson attempts to defend the notion of free will by arguing that the standard critiques of free will (as well as the standard defense) rely on an inadequate notion of time. It is impossible to summarize Bergson's subtle argument in an amazon review but, basically, the critics (and defenders) of free will have tended to understand time as a homogenous medium like space. Bergson believes that space is the only homogenous medium and that time is pure heterogeneity. The reason for that is that each moment includes the previous moment as a part of its past so that each new moment is totally new. Since no two moments can ever be exactly alike it is impossible to predict the future (the predictions of science, for example, rely on an identity between initial conditions which Bergson, due to his understanding of time, believes is impossible in the life of consciousness).

This is not only an inadequate summary of Bergson's central argument in this book it also fails utterly to get at the true value of this book. What makes this book so valuable and exciting is not necessarily its central thesis but the brilliant analysis of time and the life of consciousness that Bergson provides. I believe that philosophy is inherently a method for making distinctions that ordinary consciousness tends to pass over. Bergson's brilliance lies in the way in which he dissects our ordinary experience of ourselves and reveals the ways in which our standard understanding of ourselves is in fact a misunderstanding. Bergson reveals the life of consciousness operating beneath the distortions of language and conceptual understanding. There is a reason why modernist writers like Marcel Proust, who were attempting to describe the life of consciousness or experience in their works, found Bergson to be such an inspiration.

While Bergson's central argument is certainly interesting and important what is most important are the ways in which Bergson's analysis will completely change the way the reader understands themselves. What more could you possibly ask from a philosophy book?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this Kindle Edition 13 Feb. 2012
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is almost (not quite, since I have actually found Kindle editions which were virtually empty of content) the worst Kindle edition I have found. What you get is a photograph of the paper pages rather than a scanned and converted text, which is searchable. This edition is totally unsearchable, and the Table of contents is only to page numbers. There are other Kindle editions of this book. The worst aspect of this edition is that on a PC, the text is displayed sideways. One may be able to read it right side up on a Kindle device, but on a PC, it is virtually worthless.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely defective optically scanned edition - do not buy! 16 Nov. 2009
By Lisa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Please note this is a review of *this edition*, not of the work itself. This edition is an unedited optical scan of the original. It is completely defective and unusable. The following is a representative passage:

"In truth, psychophysics merely formulates with precision and pushes to its extreme consequences a conception familiar to common sense.
Lies merely . , , .
Pushes to iti As speech dominates over thought,
extreme conse- , 1 1 . ,
nuenoes the as external objects, which are common
fundamental , , . ,
bnt natural to us all, are more important to us
mistake ol n , ,, .... , ,
garding sensa- than the subjective states through
tions as mag- , . , , , ` ,
which to each of us passes, we have every
thing to gain by objectifying these states, by introducing into them, to the largest possible extent, the representation of their external cause."

Even had this edition been edited, which it clearly has not, I'm not sure how much that could have improved it, given that the creators of the edition clearly speak only rudimentary English. From the copyright section:

"You may not reproduce this book, stored [sic] it in a retrieval system, or transmitted [sic] in any form ..."

Read the other one star reviews and do not buy this edition. Find a copy online or get one from a library. My copy is going back to Amazon tomorrow.
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Horrible Edition 6 Oct. 2009
By Stefan P. Georgi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was seriously so excited to receive my copy of Time and Free Will. This edition disappoints on all levels. I can't help but imagine that all of the reviewers of this book just happened to like Bergson, read his essay a long time ago, and decided to try to influence others to do the same. Not a bad goal, except I looked at the good reviews, bought this copy, and ended up wasting my money. This book is a scanned copy of the online version of the original text. The translation is horrible, and there are textual errors, strange spacings, and phrases of complete gibberish throughout. For example: "Therefore time is? joilndi ord Constructed as..." Tons of errors like this. Find another copy, but do not buy this edition. It sucks.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars OCR ruins everything 24 Feb. 2012
By Dname - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The original text of this work may be extremely good, but do not buy this version because it is literally impossible to read. The book has been OCRed, so the markings that were on the book (underlining, circling, hi-lighting, etc) have become illegible characters inside words and sentences in the text. Furthermore, footnotes were not seperately recognized by the bad OCR software, so there are points where the text abruptly starts talking about something else. There are maybe one or two pages that i have found that have not been ruined in these ways, but on the whole the book is illegible.
I am keeping my copy only because i think it is funny, but i do not suggest that you do that unless you are mildly masochistic.

This could have all been avoided by merely using the scan and directly printing it, like what was dont for Matter and Memory, instead of copying and pasting to a word document.
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