Time and Free Will: an Essay on the
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Time and Free Will: an Essay on the : An Essay on the

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Description

Internationally known and one of the most influential philosophers of his day (and for a time almost a cult figure in France, where his lectures drew huge crowds), Henri Bergson (1859-41) led a revolution in philosophical thought by rejecting traditional conceptual and abstract methods, and arguing that the intuition is deeper than the intellect. His speculations, especially about the nature of time, had a profound influence on many other philosophers, as well as on poets and novelists; they are said to have been the seed for À la recherce de temps perdu by Marcel Proust (whose cousin was Bergson's wife). Though his ideas were sometimes difficult to follow, Bergson was also a fine stylist, who once declared, "there is nothing in philosophy which could not be said in everyday language," and who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927.
In Time and Free Will, written as his doctoral thesis, Bergson tries to dispel the arguments against free will. These arguments, he shows, come from a confusion of different ideas of time. Physicists and mathematicians conceive of time as a measurable construct much like the spatial dimensions. But in human experience, life is perceived as a continuous and unmeasurable flow rather than as a succession of marked-off states of consciousness -- something that can be measured not quantitatively, but only qualitatively. And because human personalities express themselves in acts that cannot be predicted, Bergson declares free will to be an observable fact. Students and teachers of philosophy are sure to welcome this inexpensive reprint of Bergson's classic, influential essay, long a staple of college philosophy courses.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 262 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 19mm | 295g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0
  • 0486417670
  • 9780486417677
  • 81,006

Table of contents

CHAPTER I
THE INTENSITY OF PSYCHIC STATES
Quantitative differences applicable to magnitudes but not to intensities
Attempt to estimate intensities by objective causes or atomic movements
Different kinds of intensities
"Deep-seated psychic states : desire, hope, joy and sorrow"
"Aesthetic feelings: grace, beauty, music, poetry, art"
"Moral feelings, pity"
"Conscious states involving physical symptoms: muscular effort, attention and muscular tension"
"Violent emotions: rage, fear"
"Affective sensations: pleasure and pain, disgust"
"Representative sensations: and external causes, sensation of sound, intensity, pitch and muscular effort, sensations of heat and cold, sensations of pressure and weight, sensation of light, photometric experiments"
Delbœuf's experiments
"Psychophysics: Weber and Fechner, Delbœuf, the mistake of regarding sensations as magnitudes"
"Intensity in (I) representative, (2) affective states, intensity and multiplicity"
CHAPTER II
THE MULTIPLICITY OF CONSCIOUS STATES
THE IDEA OF DURATION
"Number and its units, number and accompanying intuition of space"
"Two kinds of multiplicity of material objects and conscious states, impenetrability of matter, homogeneous time and pure duration"
"Space and its contents, empirical theories of space, intuition of empty homogeneous medium peculiar to man, time as homogenous medium peculiar to man, time as homogeneous medium reducible to space"
"Duration, succession and space, pure duration"
Is duration measurable?
Is motion measurable?
Paradox of the Eleatics
Duration and simultaneity
Velocity and simultaneity
"Space alone homogenous, duration and succession belong to conscious mind"
"Two kinds of multiplicity, qualitative and quantitative, superficial psychic states invested with discontinuity of their external causes, these eliminated, real duration is felt as a quality"
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Problems soluble only by recourse to the concrete and living self
CHAPTER III
THE ORANIZATION OF CONSCIOUS STATES
FREE WILL
Dynamism and mechanism
Two kinds of determinism
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"Psychological determinism: implies associationist conception of mind, this involves defective conception of self"
The free act: freedom as expressing the fundamental self
"Real duration and contingency: could our act have been different ?, geometrical representation of process of coming to a decision, the fallacies to which it leads determinists and libertarians"
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Freedom real but indefinalbe
CONCLUSION
States of self perceived through forms borrowed from external world
Intensity as quality
Duration as qualitative multiplicity
No duration in the external world
Extensity and duration must be separated
Only the fundamental self free
"Kant's mistaken idea of time as homogeneous, hence he put the self which is free outside both space and time"
"Duration is heterogeneous, relation of psychic state to act is unique, and act is free"
INDEX
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