Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century

Chapter 14 Science Raises Problems For Philosophy -- Vitalism; Henri Bergson

Table of Contents | Next | Previous

THE evolutionary phase of the scientific conception of the world got one of its philosophic expressions in the philosophy of evolution of Henri Bergson. I wish now to turn to an examination of that philosophy. Life is a process of continued reconstruction involved in the world as experienced. The new is always appearing, with the consequent appearance of new forms answering to that reconstruction. Bergson recognizes what the office of intelligence is in this immediate adjustment, and he saw that it cannot look ahead and see what the order of the world is going to be. But we have assumed that we can prophesy the future, at least in certain details. For example, the astronomer can figure out all the eclipses of the sun for a number of centuries ahead; and we utilize the same sort of data for determining certain events in the past. We can date past events from certain eclipses which occurred at certain recorded times. And we can go ahead and predict them for the future. But these eclipses are stated in terms of the laws of Newton, and these laws are being continually re-written. While the differences may be minute, the statements of the laws are not exact. There are changes taking place which those laws do not take into account. Even such fundamental facts as that of the relative motion of heavenly bodies with reference to each other cannot be stated once and for all. If the function of intelligence is to previse the future of the world, it is a failure. And Bergson took that view. He said, like all the rest of the world, we are en route to something which we cannot foresee. We do not know where we are going, but we are on our way. Intelli-

(293) -gence undertakes to tell us where we are going, and it cannot do it. Intelligence is in that sense a failure. It does enable us to direct our immediate steps; but it cannot tell us the meaning of the world. The onward movement which we discover in it is not one directed by our intelligence. There is some force in nature, which Bergson called the élan vital, which is pushing us on; and yet we do not know where it is going, what it is going to do. We adjust ourselves to it at the moment as best we can . This means that we trust ourselves to that force without trying to see into the future. So Bergson decried intelligence. He was an anti-intellectualist. He undertook to show that our reflective view of the world always distorts the world. It does it in the interest of conduct, it is true; it does enable us to accomplish our daily tasks; but it does not give us the picture of the world as it is. If you ask Bergson how we are to get a picture of the world as it is, he says by means of immediate intuition. And there his philosophy becomes quite unsatisfactory.

It is the evolutionary phase of science, as interpreted in Bergson's philosophy, that we will consider first, that part of his philosophy which emphasizes the forward push, the Han vital. It emphasizes a progress which takes place without any given goal. I have spoken of evolution as in one sense having reached the goal of human society. There is always the relationship of form to environment. The control may be on the one side or on the other. In human societies forms are reached which do, in a very large degree, control the conditions under which they live. But, while you can say that that is a goal which in some sense has been reached; while there is always an effort on the part of every living form to control its environment, as far as it can; the ways in which that pal can be reached., by the development of sense organs, of means of locomotion and of communication, never stands outside of the process. It is reached in the struggle, in the effort to control. The form it takes is something that can never be prevised. And that is true not only of separate forms but of social development as well.

(294) We can never tell what inventions are going to put us into closer communication with each other, what industrial methods will be worked out for closer economic connection with other people in the world, what means of communication will set us in actual intercourse with people thousands of miles away so as to make of society a universal interrelationship of people. All these are ways in which we get ahead, and not ways of approach to a given, fixed ideal. Bergson interpreted the movement of development as anti-intellectual. He assumed that reason, in the control of conduct, simply served immediate purposes. And it served them by distorting the world. Forward movement does not come from a rational, reflective element but from an impulse that lies behind, a blind impulse as far as reason was concerned. What Bergson failed to realize is that there is nothing so rational, so self-consciously reflective, as the application of scientific method to immediate conditions, and that the use of this method is just the means, under these conditions, that the human race is using for advancing. The anti-intellectualist attitude of Bergson represents a failure to grasp the import of the scientific method, especially that it puts the environment under the control of the individual. It is always true that we get ahead and keep going without knowing what the goal is toward which we are moving. But we are free to work out the hypotheses that present themselves and test them and so solve the immediate problems that we meet.

In a certain sense, Bergson's position is one which was an outcome of the theory of evolution, as I have already said. The philosophy of the Renaissance had as its background a view of nature which got its expression in Newtonian mechanics, that is, a physical world which was determined in all its movements by certain simple laws and which gave an account only of the positions of these physical particles. The result of this was the bifurcation of the world, the putting of other characters of the world of our experience into consciousness while it left the world of matter and motion to the statement of a mechanical

(295) philosophy. The doctrine of Bergson is one which implies that there is a process of evolution going on in nature, a process in which there is a constant creation of that which is new. There is in the traditional statement of nature, at least of the mechanical theory, practically nothing that is new. While there is a shifting of energies from one field to another, there is the same amount of energy, the same kind of motion and of matter. These always remain the same. And the doctrine of entropy assumes that everything is moving toward a state in which there will be practical stagnation, at least only slight movements taking place among molecular bodies. This was the picture which the mechanical view of the world gave. It abstracted from everything except matter stated in terms of inertia and the motions of these particles. In consciousness arose the various experiences of the world that we know, different objects with the sensuous characters which belong to them in experience. What the mechanical doctrine was able to do was to state the conditions under which these conscious experiences arose. But the characters which belong to objects and their nature as objects belong only to the conscious experience, if the doctrine is carried out consistently. The world itself, from the point of view of the mechanical philosophy, is simply a congeries of particles all being related to all others. There was no justification for unifying certain groups and saying that these existed by themselves. There were really only two objects in the universe: one the physical particle, the other the universe as a whole. The lines drawn between separate groups of physical particles were arbitrary, determined by the process of consciousness. The very interest which, for example, an animal would have in certain groupings of them as over against other groupings would, in Bergson's statement, be determined by his perceptions. That is, he would see those characters of the object, as this appeared in his experience, which were of importance for his own conduct. He would see that which was dangerous and would then run away. He would see food and run toward it. He would regard only those parts and characters of the physical

(296) universe which are of interest to him, so that perception would be responsible for the actual structure of the thing itself. Perception would be, in that sense, the determiner of the object.

But Bergson assumed that the nature of things themselves was to be found not only in perception but also in the world. Our thought or perception-so-called "consciousness"-really belongs to the nature of things. The conceptions that we form of things are, as he indicated, determined by the usage to which we are going to put them. We think things out in terms of plans of action. These are the characters that belong to the things themselves. We want to see the world as it is and as it will be when we are going to act in a certain way. We recognize, as fixed, the ground upon which we walk. The object toward which we are acting is fixed or moving in a certain direction. We see things as conditions of our conduct. We fix the world as much as we can, because that will enable us to act with reference to it. In reality the world is not fixed. We are simply selecting out the characters which are of interest to us for our conduct and holding them in a static condition before our eyes because the changes taking place are unimportant as far as our conduct is concerned. Actually, everything is in motion. Things that seem to be fixed are really in motion, but the motion may be so slight that it is unimportant. Or the motion may belong to a whole group of objects, so that relatively they are at rest with reference to each other. The earth is moving about the sun in this manner, but for our conduct it can be dealt with as at rest. Such a statement of things in certain fixed relations, Bergson said, was a special statement. And this special statement freezes the world, so to speak-catches it at an instant and holds it there. It is not a statement of things as they really are. They are really changing always. And their change is not simply motion from one special point to another. There is change going on within the objects themselves , just as there is change going on within ourselves; there is an inner change, and, as a result of this, there are outer changes. That fundamental process going on in all things Bergson said appears in what we call

(297) "time)" or duration as distinct from space. And one of the fundamental tenets of his philosophy is that this duration, this process which is going on, can never be presented adequately in spatial terms. Any statement of it in purely spatial terms is always bound to be a distortion of reality.

When he looks for an instance of what he calls pure "duration," as distinct from mere motion in a fixed space, he goes to the inner experience of the individual. If we look inside ourselves, we find a process going on in which there is interpenetration of what takes place at one moment and what takes place at another moment. You cannot cut off your ideas, feelings,, sensations, and fix them at a certain point and say that one belongs to this point and another to another point. Your feeling is something that pervades a whole experience. Such a phenomenon, for example, as a melody is illustrative of what Bergson refers to. You can deal with the melody simply as a set of notes, if you like; and you can hang those notes up on the bars and think of each note as answering to a certain vibration. But there would not be a melody if there was a sound at this moment, another at the next, and so on, each taken by itself. And if your experience was only of that sort, it would not be one of a melody. What is characteristic of the melody is the fact that the note which you are hearing and singing extends on, endures into later notes. It is a relationship between the different notes that makes up the melody. There must be an interpenetration of the different notes in order that there may be a melody, and that is what is characteristic of all our thought. Duration, as such, always involves this interpenetration, not only in the sense that what is taking place extends over into what is coming into existence and anticipates what is coming on, but also that it gives the meaning and value to things. It is the use of the table that makes a table of it. If there is no use for it, it is nothing but a lump of wood. It is our attitudes of conduct that give to even such a thing as a work of art its beauty. It is a sort of response that is aroused in us that calls out the aesthetic feeling. And in our attitude toward more ab-

(298) -stract things, such as a concept of a table as a unit that is already there, we find that that constitutes the import of it as an object. When you cut things off and place them in special cubicles, an injustice is really being done to reality. The "knife-edge" point of view assumes that all our experience takes place at instants-instants that are not spread at all. These instants have the same relation to time that a point has to space. As a point has no magnitude, so an instant has no duration. It is succeeded by another instant, and so on. The mathematician breaks up not only space, but motion, into an infinite number of points; he breaks up the temporal phase of it into an infinite number of instants.

Now you can see that, if our experience of anything taking place was really confined to an instant, then pushed aside and another experience put into its place; if our experience was simply that which takes place at one instant and then at the next instant, and none of these instants had any spread; then there would not be any experience of change at all. Then the world at one instant would be completely wiped out by the world as it is at the next instant. There would be no connection between the two, no real duration; there would be only substitution of one instant for another. This statement of time in terms of separate instants Bergson calls a "spatial statement of time." And what he insists upon is that this spatial statement of time does not anticipate each duration as we actually experience it. What the mathematician does, you see, is to give an account of time which is spatial. If he draws a line which represents the path of a motion, one of the co-ordinates representing time, another space, he can draw a curve which determines the velocity of the moving body; he can mark off a certain point on one co-ordinate and call it a certain moment, the next point the next moment, and so on. That is a spatial statement. What is of importance from Bergson's point of view is that each moment in time includes any other, just as any point in space includes any other point in space. The exclusion of the parts of duration

(299) is what Bergson denies. They do not mutually exclude each other. If they did, duration would be nothing but a set of separate experiences which could have no temporal relationship to each other at all.

Put in different terms, but with practically the same meaning, is the statement that our experience is always a passing experience, and that this passing experience always involves an extension into other experiences. It is what has just happened, what is going on, what is just appearing in the future, that gives to our experience its peculiar character. It is never an experience just at an instant. There is no such thing as the experience of a bare instant as such. The psychologists have termed this the so-called "specious present," a term which implies that it is not a real present. It is experience dealt with as if the present were instantaneous. Of course, the present is that which is going on; it is a spatial image. To this present psychologists have hitched memory on as a memory image, and the future as another image, something anticipated; and they have dealt with these images as if they existed in an instantaneous present. You can see that your memory of something is something that exists now. You remember now what you did an hour ago. So the psychologist makes up the present out of an instantaneous experience, plus an equally instantaneous memory and an equally instantaneous anticipation, all fused into a present instant. And they say that these images, fused into an instant, give us the impression of a specious present which extends.

Well, of course, experience does extend. If you could get it into a single instant and then simply replace that by another instant, there would need to be no such thing as duration. You would be living only in the present. And the difference of the presents would be a difference not of duration but of substitution. Actually, our experience is one which includes both past and future. What is going on is something that is slipping away, plus something that is just coming up over the horizon. Part of it has just happened, part is just coming to be; and in

(300) order that it may have happened and that it may be an experience, it must be past and future. Our present is the fusion with both past and present in the experience itself The specious present is not the present. The present is something that is happening, going on; and in this going-on what does happen is related really, actually, to what is taking place, and what is taking place is really related to what does happen. Of course, our present is chopped off into very small portions. We can represent only a few seconds perhaps. At times it is so chopped off that we cannot effectively connect the different portions of it. An illustration of this has been given of a person who is riding in a train with telegraph poles flashing by. Suppose he tries to relate these. He is counting them. They go by very rapidly. He finds himself dealing with sets of such short intervals that he cannot connect them, think of them consecutively. One experience is replaced by another so rapidly that he cannot think them separately. But if he can stretch himself out on the grass in the sun, with things moving slowly-the swoop of a bird, the wind in the trees-where there is an extension, he can get a longer present than in the railroad train. One part of experience merges into another, and you have really the interpenetration of Bergson.

This is something you do not get in a spatial statement. It is the very essence of space that any position excludes any other. A thing cannot be in two places at once. If you are going to represent time in this spatial fashion, then your experience cannot be at two separate instants. But our experience, our feelings, our sensations, are extended over our present; and one present extends over another so that there is a flow in which the past is really reflected into the future, and the future back into the past. That, Bergson says, is the nature of reality. It is not that which can be expressed in points and instants; it must be expressed in duration. And what he insists upon is that we should take time seriously. The impression we have of this continuity and of this interpenetration is not something simply to be found in consciousness while the real world is made up of happenings,

(301) separate instants at separate points, in which the past and the future are not actually present. if the future is in the experience it influences it. That is, of course, the nature of our so-called "intelligent conduct." What we are going to do Is determined by what we are doing. Our ends are there, interpenetrating all the world in terms of means. If time is taken seriously, as Bergson says it must be, then what is going to happen can actually affect what has just happened. You can get final causes into nature. The future can influence the present just as it does in our own conduct. If that is the nature of what takes place, of duration, the future can enter into it. The world is not simply a process of the readjustment of physical particles with reference to each other, a situation that remains always the same; it is a process that is going on, always moving on into a future which lies ahead of it, which is just appearing, and, as it appears, influencing what is taking place.

For example, a person finds, in crossing a street, that the automobiles are going by at great speed; and he suddenly stops or turns. It is only after he has actually stopped or turned, or means to stop or to turn, that he is aware of what it is that is responsible for his action. That is, his adjustment to what is taking place comes earlier than the impression of the situation itself. You find that frequently it is the beginning of your own motion that first apprises you of the object itself in regard to which you are moving. It is particularly true of the impressions which have reached the periphery of the retina as over against the most sensitive point of vision. We turn with reference to a moving object, and then see what it is. The motion comes first, with reference to something which is already there. But it is our adjustment to it that is first given in experience. That is the sort of picture of the world that Bergson presents. It is always moving on toward a future which is just arising. What it is you cannot tell until it does arise. But it is always coming into experience, and we are always adjusting ourselves to it, finding out what it is by the very process of change. That is the sort of evolution which is taking place, a process ceaselessly going on

(302) with continued adjustment, with a future actually affecting that which is taking place. Well, as I said, what Bergson has insisted on is that we should take time seriously, that is, that we should take into account pure duration, and that that involves not simply the past but the future as well.

The past which physical science gives us is of something that has happened. We are always looking back at something that has happened, in so far as we are observing things scientifically. The event must have taken place, must have left some definite record, must have fixed itself in some definite way; and then, after it has fixed itself, we estimate it. Scientific data are the records left. All that has happened, all that is taking place, is fixed in a spatial framework in which every element excludes every other element. But that is not the nature of reality according to Bergson's statement. From his standpoint, reality is something that is always going on, and that which is taking place is always reacting on what has taken place and acting ahead upon that which will take place. The novel is always there affecting us, always affecting what is taking place.

In a sense, of course, Darwinian evolution expressed this. Something happens and affects the form, selects out that which is adapted to the new situation. It eliminates those forms which are not adapted. This process, going on all the time, is one in which what is taking place has something of the future in it. If you take a geological picture of the world, you get a picture of it looking back over what has taken place, and the continued influence of that which is going on over the future is lost. The view of evolution which Bergson recognized is a view in which there is this interpenetration in which the future can affect the present, in which there is continued adjustment, but an adjustment which is due to what is taking place.

But this view is one which can never be given in spatial terms. What is just taking place is continually belying what we are thinking. Our thinking is just such a process of putting things into a framework as the mathematician's process of dealing with motion. In thinking, we are putting things into

(303) different cubicles and separating them from each other. It is the very nature of thought to tear things apart, to cut out the things that are important, to pick out only one particular character of the thing and relate it to something else that has the same character and then put these into the same cubbyhole. It is a process of classifying things in which we are continually breaking them up. That, says Bergson, is of service to us in our conduct; but it does not give us the reality of things.

His philosophy then, while it looks toward the future, looks toward a future that is always novel, toward a future which cannot be conceived, which cannot be presented in terms of perception. Any picture which we make of the future, as we know, is always belied by that which really happens. You go to meet somebody and anticipate the meeting. It may be a disappointment or it may be beyond your anticipation, but it is always different. You never can present it to yourself exactly as it is going to happen. You can only say that such things have happened in the past; they have had such and such a fixed character; so I am justified in assuming that the same sort of thing happening in the future will also have this character. But there is always something different. All this fixed conception can do is to direct our conduct; but when we use conceptions to give us the nature of things as such, we are always discarding them, according to Bergson. And we know that the future will always be different from anything we can actually present to ourselves, so that an intellectual view of the world, a conceptual, reflective view, is, apart from its use in conduct, a distortion. Thus, Bergson is an anti-intellectualist. The true view of reality, says Bergson, has to be got by intuition, in which you are able in some way or other to catch the something that is going on and hold oil to it as a reality. He is very, vague, unsatisfactory, in the picture of reality which is grasped in a sort of metaphysical intuition.

Of course, so far in this discussion I have done no more than suggest certain phases of the Bergsonian philosophy. What is of importance to us is this taking of time seriously, for in a

(304) certain sense this is an anticipation on the philosophical side of the relativistic doctrines which have set up a space-time in place of an absolute space and an absolute time. And what is also important is that Bergson's philosophy arises out of a point of view of the world which is evolutionary as over against mechanical. And evolution as such is a process that is continually going on. Bergson's term for this process is an élan vital. Anything that is continually going on cannot be stated simply in terms of that which can be put into an instant. What evolution has done is to present to us the conditions out of which new forms can arise. It has given us those conditions; and our thought, our interpretation, of them implies constant appearance of new forms. If we turn back to a mechanical statement of the world, what we get is simply a distribution of physical particles now at one instant and now at another. In all these situations what we have is practically the same. We have the same amount of energy, the same kind of motion. Everything is interrelated with everything else. The new form that arises means simply the redistribution of physical particles. It is only our interpretation of it that makes the new animal, the new plant, out of this shift of positions. What Bergson does is to insist that this process of change that is going on, with the appearance of that which is novel, is the reality of things, and that our philosophy of nature should be an evolutionary philosophy which takes into account a theory of change. This change involves duration. His is an approach to the interpretation of the world from the evolutionary point of view which takes into account the whole of our nature.

From another point of view we may say that Bergson's approach is the same as that of Kant.[1] You will remember that the latter found his problem arising out of the statement of Hume Hume came back to the reality of states of consciousness but failed to find in them the world which science had been describ-

(305) ing. The uniformities of the scientific description dissolved into a succession of conscious states held together by laws of association which, being subjective, tell us nothing of the nature of an objective world. Against this Kant proposed to find the necessity for science within consciousness itself. Whereas for Hume knowledge had no other basis than that of habit, for Kant concepts were themselves essential, they were the precondition of knowledge. Prior to dealing with the spatial attributes of reality you must have a concept of space. The necessity of the great mathematic structure which was the basis of the science of the time was something that came from the nature of the mind itself. Since the mind had this formal capacity, it was perfectly possible to develop a rational and universal science on the basis of it. Of course, you will remember that this science applies only to the world of experience, the world of phenomena. There is no bridge from it to the other world, that of noumenal reality. But within the former there was necessity, uniformity, and universality, because the mind required that. The mind being what it is, these characteristics of our science could not be avoided.

Now Bergson is Kantian in the sense that he too takes his departure from the results of science and builds up his position in terms of what he sees to be the implications of these data. He, like Kant, was convinced that, while science was exact within the field of experience, there was another phase of reality that science itself could not come into contact with; and, in somewhat the same way as his predecessor, he felt that this latter was more important than the former. The fundamental distinction between the two is that the science in which Kant was interested was mathematical while Bergson turns to the implications of biology and psychology.

Mathematical mechanics, the mechanics of Newton, had broken the world up into ultimate elements. In this statement we have the universe as a whole, on the one hand, and the infinite number of particles that compose it, on the other. This view pays no attention to the particular groupings of these par-

(306) -ticles into smaller units, objects or organisms. These can be of no special interest to the physicist, because the groupings are not necessary. They are the result of the operation of certain physical tendencies, and any group that may be formed can be broken up until finally the ultimate elements are reached. When these are obtained, it is seen that the temporary groupings of them are wholly incidental from the point of view of their nature and have nothing to do with the character of the physical forces.

This is not the picture as the biologist presents it to us. It is still less the presentation of the psychologist. In biology the most important factor is the structure of the particles, not in their isolation, but as they appear as structures. Kant himself realized this; and while he was primarily interested in presenting, a philosophical defense of the Newtonian science, he recognized, in the Critique of Judgment, that things had to be dealt with in biology which were of no importance from the physicist's point of view. The first of these was that the biologist has to conceive of particles as related in wholes; and second, that to understand these wholes, ends and purposes had to be admitted into the picture. Biology, like art, is teleological.

Kant had accomplished in philosophy what Newton had in' science: he had given it complete intelligibility. That is the suggestion that came to Bergson. He found the mechanical explanation inadequate. When you turn to the world that had been unfolding under the influence of the growing interest in biological phenomena, particularly after Darwin, you find that the early statement of science is not adequate. You cannot take biological structures and describe them in Newtonian terms. Thus, Kant's intelligible world is faced with a serious difficulty. His problem must be worked out again. It is this that Bergson, in a certain sense, undertakes to do. He proposes to start with the nature not of physical but of biological and psychological phenomena.

His interest in the data of psychology indicates another root in Bergson's thought, one that goes back to Descartes. Psychology became important in the nineteenth century. It does

(307) not start with the physical particles of the mechanical statement. It starts with the organism which is there as the condition of experience. The organism in some sense is there before consciousness appears. Of course, this is not the Cartesian statement. For Descartes, mind and body were distinct substances neither of which depended upon the other for its being. His fantastic treatment of the pineal body must not be thought of as implying any functional relationship between mind and body. It was simply a device for dealing with an acknowledged situation, the reciprocal influence of mind on body, and vice versa. Not even the English empiricists saw the problem in terms of a functional relationship. Their psychology was a philosophy. It undertook to give a statement of the structure of things which at the same time left the things "out there." Hume left the world in the form of impressions and ideas, of states of consciousness. It is to this situation that the words "subjective" and "objective" ordinarily refer. But gradually a new meaning appeared. With the psychology of the nineteenth century these terms apply to a functional relationship within experience. The mind is no longer something here, something inside, which gets impressions from something there, something outside. The inner and the outer, the subjective and the objective, are phases of a single process and point to differences of perspective, not to absolute differences of locus. This new approach is that of what may be called the scientific, the "new," psychology, as over against the philosophical psychology of the earlier period. It develops out of the recognition that the physiological organism is the condition of the appearance of states of consciousness. just as there is a functional relationship between the organism and its environment, so there is one between what is "in the mind" and what is "outside." It is a reconstruction of psychology which starts off with the assumption that there is a world "out there" and a world which is the precondition for the states of consciousness.

According to this functional point of view, the mind itself creates new worlds, not in the Kantian sense of determining the

(308) forms, the categories in which experience must be interpreted, but in the sense that each new perspective gives rise to a new creation. The mind is a part of a creative process which is responsible for the world itself. Appearing within this process, the mind is functionally related to all other aspects of it. It is no longer possible to stand by the bifurcation of the world into outer and inner.

With this new position Bergson is in hearty agreement. Indeed, in it we find one of the clues for the interpretation of his whole position. If the world out there is the condition of what is within, it brings the possibility of the within being created of what is without. Thus Bergson turns his attention to that which lies within experience; and he, like Kant, finds in this certain factors which must be dealt with before the nature of reality can become clear, before the problems of the philosopher can be satisfactorily dealt with. The thing in subjective experience to which he gives his attention particularly is its flow, that is, its temporal aspect. He finds the same thing in consciousness that the biologist finds in dealing with organisms, namely, that it is impossible to reduce either to ultimate elements. By means of this process of reduction physical science had destroyed the significance of particular objects. The world of experience, in so far as it contained wholes, was broken up into an indefinite number of elements. The world in inner experience had been broken up I into a series of atomic impressions by the English empirical thinkers. In each case something is left out. In the former, it is the essential unity of certain groupings of particles; in the latter, it is a certain penetration of the experiences into one another. It is this which is of especial interest to Bergson. He goes back to his experience and finds that what takes place there is an interpenetration of experiences. Take the notes of a musical scale, for example. A melody is something more than a mere accumulation of separate tones. The E, G, C of the scale have no musical significance in themselves. It is only as they interpenetrate that they form a musical unit; it is only as the tones interpenetrate that the melody is presented.

(309) The experience of the present moment is what it is because of what took place just before it, and of what is about to take place. That which will be in consciousness in a moment is connected with that which is present there now. All our experiences share this character of interpenetration. But it is especially true of our indefinite states of consciousness. The subjectivity to which Bergson returns, then, is one which shows us a content rather than a form. In this there is a distinct cleavage between him and Kant.

It is in terms of the interpenetration of particles in objects, on the one hand, and of elements of conscious experience, on the other, that Bergson proposes to build up his philosophy. That is, whereas Kant took his problem from mathematical physics, Bergson attacks the philosophical question from the point of view of biology and psychology. The procedure of the scientist of modern times differs from that of the ancient scientist in that the former starts from specific problems whereas the latter developed his procedure from the point of view of certain given characters. The practical significance of this is that modern science is hypothetical. It is true that Kant tried to give science a categorical form. But he did not succeed in this. Although he did not realize it, the categories, the universality, the necessity, which he set up are themselves only hypothetical. Even though the form of the laws might be universal, they were still only hypothetical in character. Galileo's statement that velocity varies with time and Darwin's statement that species have arisen under the influence of the process of natural selection and the survival of the fittest are both hypothetical.

One of the hypotheses of the mathematical point of view was that organic structures could be broken up into their ultimate particles in exactly the same way as could inanimate objects. But the biologist found this could not be done. He had to deal with his objects as individual things. The parts must be conceived in their relationship to the whole, for apart from that relationship they have no significance. In dealing with the problems of this science and with those of psychology, we cannot

(310) come to the simplicity of the mechanical statement. If we attempt to do so, we destroy the object with which we are dealing. The organism must be thought of in terms of its processes as a whole and not in terms of its particles, just as states of consciousness must be dealt with in terms of their actual interpenetration and not simply as a flow of atomic sensations each of which is distinct from, and can be dealt with independently of, others. One result of this is, of course, that neither biology nor psychology is as accurate as physical science. The mechanical science builds up the whole from the parts, and there is no reason why one whole should be built up rather than another. Biology, on the other hand, deals with wholes, and the parts have meaning only in so far as they belong to the whole. If you look at them from the point of view of physical science, they cease to be parts; they become atoms and electrons. Thus you have to pay a price for the exactness that you get in the mechanical statement.

The inadequacy of this statement of reality greatly impressed Bergson, and to offset it he turned to the nature of the process of consciousness for his clue. The terms "extensive" and "intensive" have no significance for mechanical physics. All particles are alike. Consciousness does have a definite intensity and a definite extensity. What is its inner reality? What is it that one does realize in this field of inner experience, and what is the relation of the judgments that refer to it and those which science uses in referring to the outer world? Bergson finds a number of characters which pertain to this inner world which have no significance for the outer. The most important of these are two that have already been mentioned: the experience of the interpenetration of our states of consciousness, and the reality of intensity and extensity in inner experience.

The statement that one experiences a certain brilliance has no meaning for the physicist. He cannot deal with brilliance any more than he can deal with color. Experiences of brilliance are qualitative experiences. You cannot say that your experience of the brightness of a light is equal to your experience of

(311) the combined brilliance of three lights. In regard to certain experiences attempts have been made to carry on such analyses. In weights it has been found that the addition of a certain fraction of a weight -- I think it is one-fourth, according to the law of Weber - is sufficient to give you a qualitatively distinct experience. But even here it is impossible to get any constancy of statement from the point of view of inner experience. It is impossible to completely control all the conditions outside and then ask what is going on in consciousness. You have to go to consciousness directly. And when you do that, you find the elements of your experience related in ways different from those used in dealing with the outer world. The fundamental difference found between these two types of experience is that the inner experiences interpenetrate. That is, they have a span, they have duration. This sort of consciousness has a peculiar disregard for certain important philosophical problems. It ignores the epistemological difficulty. It refuses to take account of a bifurcated world. Bergson approaches the problem of knowledge from the point of view of biology, and what he finds is that knowledge answers to a stream of interpenetrating states of consciousness each of which draws into itself the nature of the past and projects its own nature into the future. Thus they achieve a span, a durée.

But of what importance is this duration? First of all, it determines the nature of time. Time is not simply the sum total of an indefinite number of temporal units. It is a process, and must be conceived as a process or its essential character is lost. In the second place, this being the distinguishing character of our inner experience, the relation of penetration which characterizes it passes over into the character of the object. This means, of course, that time has a new significance in the outer world. The basic philosophical question, as Bergson sees it, is this: Shall we take time seriously, shall we recognize the import of duration in experience itself? The answer which he gives to this question is affirmative. The fact of an event in the time series means the recognition of duration as a reality in itself, as

(312) something that is going on. A passage which is always taking place is the necessary precondition for the appearance of parts. You could not single out individual temporal events unless there were a continuous passage, a duration, in which they appear. Here, again, we meet the necessity of recognizing the whole as the condition of the parts. This reality which is going on, says Bergson, has to be taken seriously. It cannot be presented in terms of mathematical analysis. In the latter, all we can do is to break up the series into minute elements and look at these as points. But this is not the process. Thus Bergson tries to seize upon an inner process in reality which will correspond to the process in our inner experience.

But the mathematician will ask if Bergson has been fair with him. Is it not possible for him to take time seriously in the Bergsonian sense? Is not his description of reality one in which processes are recognized and dealt with as important aspects of the whole? Let us substitute for the older concept of space such a one as Whitehead's. The only thing that you can say about extension is that it extends over. Such a statement obviously is about a continuum. Now, a continuum can be broken up. Take this table, for example. It is a continuum; you can break it up into parts. Now add to this idea of extension, of a continuum, the idea of time as a fourth dimension. What you get then is not merely a spatial spread but a temporal spread. That is, you get duration. In this latter case we now have an actual process in nature. Thus, Bergson's insistence that duration is an attribute of inner experience only, and that since the world outside, at least as presented by science, is a static world it cannot be the source from which this inner duration is obtained, is not wholly adequate. The mathematician has presented us with a picture of a world which has just the type of spread, of duration, that Bergson says is requisite if we are to get at its real nature. The thing that Bergson dislikes in the scientific procedure is essential to it only for purposes of description and analysis. In this aspect, it is true that science, and particularly mathematics, gives us static independent particles.


For example, one of the most useful of all mathematical concepts is that of the limit. The ultimate element to which the mathematician retreats, as Whitehead points out, is the limit. As an object we deal with the table as having extension. It has not only extension in space but extension In time; its extension lasts through this hour. We conceive of the table as a part of a world of passage. It is passing; in its temporal dimension it has an extension that cannot be defined in an instant any more than its spatial extension can be defined in terms of points. But when we undertake to analyze this table in terms of certain scientific problems, we find that it can be broken up into successively smaller and smaller bits of extension. We reduce this extension by getting something that extends over, something which is apart from the table. To take the analogy of boxes, we get boxes which are contained within other boxes until we finally approach a limit. We never get the limit because we can always think of another box being within the smallest that we have thought of up to that time. Thus, if you take a certain portion of extension and consider its quantitative characters, whether this extension be of a table, an electrical charge, a momentum, or what not, you can successively take smaller and smaller portions of it. These can be constructed into a quantitative series which approaches a limit. This limit is never reached; it is ever more closely approached.

Now the mathematician does his best to state his law of the series in terms of such limits. They can never be gotten in our experience, but they can be thought. Here you are dealing with an ideal situation. The mathematician realizes that it is ideal. But he can get a better statement of what is going on in the process through this method of postulating an ideal situation which can never be found in actuality than lie can by turning to the immediate process as it is going on. These ultimate, static particles against which Bergson utters so severe an indictment are ideal particles in terms of which we get the laws which we find in nature. There is no such thing as a point or an instant in the static sense. They are constructs which we use in so far

(314) as we are seeking a certain sort of simplicity, a simplicity that makes it possible to get a statement of a law. The law is discovered in the ideal situation, but it is then tested in reality to see if it works. It is taken out and put up against the object, against the process it is designed to describe. Thus, when we come back to the table, we see it described as at rest, as an object in which the particles have no velocities added to them. But after the scientist has gotten hold of his law in this way, he comes back to the table and deals with it as an object whose particles are in motion, as an object which itself revolves around the sun, for example. It is an object which has a passage. Thus we get the Bergsonian duration in the external world. It is not duration in the Bergsonian sense, because it is not duration from the standpoint of an inner experience. The duration with which the scientist deals is an objective duration. It belongs to the object. The object may be fixed as we look at it; to see it we may have to stop the process. But that reflects a limitation in our method. It does not imply that process, passage, duration, are excluded from the nature of things and made subjective.

Whitehead comes back to somewhat the same problem that Bergson faces. But, whereas the latter tries to seize upon an inner process, the former tries to present the picture without the distortion which the other emphasis implies. The world of the physical sciences, in so far as they are analytic, is a world of external relations. But that is not the picture of what lies outside us. Nature is composed of structures: atoms, stellar galaxies, tables, living beings-all these are organisms, the reality of each abiding within itself., The analysis, the quest for limits carries us back to elements out of which the whole may be thought to be built up. But these are not the whole. it is something that lies within each thing; it is a process. The characters of the object are not present without it. The atoms carry no ions unless there is a process; the living thing does not live unless there is a process. Natural science deals with a reality of such structures whose essence involves process. The reality of

(315) the atom abides within itself. It is not affected by any process of dissection, of analysis. Natural science continually brings us back to a reality in which there must be process if reality is to have the characters which belong to it. Physical sciences, even, are dealing with processes which are going on. But they find they can most effectively get hold of them by setting up ideals ,such as the idea of limit. Whitehead sums the whole question up --by saying that any structure which we find in nature is an organism. If this statement is correct, if this is an adequate account of the reality with which the physical scientist is dealing, then Bergson's position that it is only in an inner process that we find processes as such is incorrect.

The world at an instant is a pure fiction. The natural order is an organization of perspectives. We have to recognize that these perspectives exist in their relationship to organisms. Process must be preserved as an ultimate part of reality. How the process appears depends upon the position of the organism from whose perspective it is reported. These perspectives can be got only in terms of a process in which they have their locus. All these aspects are essential to reality, the latter being nothing more than the sum total of the former. It is my opinion that you have to recognize not only the organism but also the world as having its reality in relation to the organism. The world is organized in relation to each organism. This is its perspective from that point of view. Reality is the total of such perspectives. Now Bergson is right in insisting that if there is such a thing as life or consciousness, anything to which a rhythm belongs, we have to think of this as being in the nature of reality. The point at which he deviates from Whitehead is his inability to discover this process elsewhere than in the inner experience. Bergson's point of view is justified when we realize that there is, 'in the physical processes, a distortion which is due not to the recognition of qualitative changes but to differences of velocity It is his desire to get inside this process, and he finds his clue in the process of inner experience as distinct from the statement about reality which is presented by the exact sciences. These

(316) sciences distort reality through their quantitative presentation of it. The real is qualitative, and you cannot get quality at an instant. It occurs over a period, whether it be color, melody, or the ionization of an atom.

For the same reason that he finds the static statements of the exact sciences inadequate, Bergson also turns away from the associational psychology. This describes the conscious life as a series of separate, distinct units. It attempts to account for the fact that a certain book happens to appear in memory through mere association; it seeks to find the causes of an act in terms of similarity, contiguity, and so forth, But this is inaccurate. Thought, as well as conduct, presumes an organization prior to its eventuation. Neither can an act be explained in terms of pleasure and pain. These belong to the end of the act. Statements of this sort are superficial. They are useful in determining certain relations of things in thought, just as the static picture of the world has its use in the physical sciences. But when you get below this surface account, you find that the mental states interpenetrate each other. You can always separate that which is characterized by this interpenetration, but the relationship of states of consciousness is not that of mere contiguity. So you see, from every point of view the Bergsonian statement is one of interpenetration. All you have is a set of processes. The real is a set of continuities.

This takes away the element of determination which has been a constant charge of the philosopher against the scientist, as Kant indicated earlier. Here Bergson turns again to an inner experience, this time to the experience of the living organism. It has freedom in the determination of its goal. The question is whether or not this freedom is an expression of an accumulative set of experiences which work from behind, or whether in some sense this freedom is the result of future conditions, that is, is influenced by ends still hidden in the unrevealed future. According to the mechanical statement, the past is gone and the future is not yet here. Therefore, the future cannot determine what the change is going to be. The mechanical statement is un-

(317) able to give us the reflection of the future into what is going on. And yet this is the essence of conduct. It is directed toward goals, ends which, while not yet actual, are operative in the determination of the directions which conduct shall take. The organism is free in the selection of its goal. Conscious selection is quite as really influenced by what is yet to be as it is by what has been. This leads Bergson to turn again to experience to see just what it really is like. He finds that in its characteristic interpenetration there is no sharp, knife-edge separation between past and future. The interpenetration of experience does go into the future. The essence of reality involves the future as essential to itself. In this way he rescues freedom. The coming of the future into our conduct is the very nature of our freedom. We may be able to get the reason for everything we do after the act, according to the mechanical statement; but to see conduct as selective, as free, we must take account of that which is not yet in position to be expressed in terms of a mechanical statement of events which follow one another as a series of atomic experiences.

But, again it seems that Bergson has failed to recognize that this process upon which he lays so much stress must be recognized wherever an effort, a process, is essential to the nature of the object. Thus the description he makes must hold for the atom, for which the present is just as much weighted with the future as it is for more specifically "organic" structures. In his Matter and Memory he again deals specifically with the psychological problem of the mind and body. Here we have the question of the function of the nervous system. Nerve cells may answer to the seat of certain excitations. But there is, as yet, no discovered relationship between a certain sensation of color and the excitement of a certain nerve cell. There is nothing in the path of nerve current from one cell to another, and then to another, and so on, which answers to the appearance of color as such. The functional process is one of action, and here you have nothing which answers to the static character of the sensation itself. Bergson points out in reference to these static con-

(318) -tents of sensation, the reporting in consciousness of successive qualities, that the response in each case serves as the selection of the stimulus. In other words, the older statement, which put the stimulus first, made it the condition, the cause of the response, had, so to speak, put the cart before the horse. You cannot deal with psychological data adequately if you insist on the causal, associational statement in regard to them. We are at any moment surrounded by an indefinite number of possible sensations. Which of these will be picked out is de-decided(sic decided?) in terms of the response that is already being made. There you have the future, the conclusion of the act, implied in what is now going on but which is not yet achieved, coming in to set up the conditions in terms of which stimuli shall arise. This mechanism selects certain responses; it selects the stimuli which shall be effective. The inadequacy here, as I indicated a moment ago, is that this is an account not only of living organisms but of every object which involves a process. It can be said equally of the atom. Out of the total field in which the object may respond in terms of processes that are already set up within it, are the conditions for its acting in one way or another.

Partly through this limitation, this failure to extend sufficiently his doctrine to include all processes in reality, Bergson has to face the alternative of stating his world not in terms of what is going on but in terms of images. We cannot get to reality in any other way, according to him, because, when we try to think our way into it, we stop the process which is requisite to its being. In this, his approach is not unlike that of Locke. Bergson is interested in the organism which as such has this selective character. On the one hand he sees the world of the physical scientist, a world which he describes as a world of physical particles. On the other hand is the experience of the individual through which he reaches the hypotheses which the scientist sets up as a thought structure. This is the idealistic picture. Both of these Bergson tries to avoid by turning to a world of images. Our perceptive world is one which centers about the organism. The more distant the object imaged, the more indifferent its

(319) characters. Take the illustration of your perception of objects from a moving train. The objects near at hand change with rapidity, while those which are far away are relatively stable. The real process is revealed to us in immediate perceptual experience. But over against this we have a world of objects which is independent of the organism and by which we correct our perceptual experience. This latter world, the world which science analyzes, was there before the organism appeared. How does Bergson set about to fit these two worlds together?

The perceptual world, says Bergson, is a world of knowledge. It appears as a representation in the cognitive sense. The image is a cognitive representation of something. All the conduct of the organism is mapped out in your central nervous system. There are an enormous number of possible reactions. But there is nothing in the central nervous system which answers to the structure of the representation. You cannot find the representations there; you find sensitivities. You find nothing in it which answers to the representation of this table as such, for example. The table is not in our heads. What is there is what we are going to do about it: read on it, sit on it, eat from it. Whenever I change my position, I change my perceptual world. All the stimuli change because of the relation of the organism to them. They are expressed in terms of our reactions. We make the world from the point of view of our reactions to it. If you state the organism in terms of a mechanism, you get the logical relationship between the perceptual world and the scientific world. Your perceptual world is a statement of the scientific world in terms of your possible reaction to it. This is Bergson's approach. The sensation is a clue; it helps us to pick out the memory image which we will use in action. This memory image had no place in the scientific world. Yet it plays a great part in the determination of stimuli; and this determines the world to which we shall respond, the world which will be presented in our perceptual representations at the present and which will become the memory images of the future. These images will then play the same rôle in regard to the multitudinous stimuli from

(320) which our conduct will select those which are pertinent to what is then going on. Thus the future image, which has no place in the scientific world, plays a great part in actual experience. Bergson starts off with a freedom which is there for all the world of images. This gives the world the meaning it has for us.

By including within this world of images the future as well as the past, Bergson hopes to have established not only the fact, but also the efficacy, of freedom. But we must examine into the nature of these images a little more deeply. How does it happen that we have perceptions and yet only incomplete representations of reality if, as Bergson contends, these perceptions are really representational? Perception is a restriction of experience, he says. Thus he has to bring in other aspects than those which he has thus far stated. The problem, he says, has been to add to the perceptual experience something that is not there. This is an insoluble problem. It is far easier to diminish the content of what is given than it is to add something to it that is not there. Thus, in undertaking to explain how our perceptions are called out from reality, he starts out with what he calls "pure perceptions." Perceptions arise only in so far as objects affect the bodily organism. These perceptions represent the interrelations, the interconnections, of the rest of the universe. He accepts the theory that every particle of the universe is interrelated with every other particle. Perception represents the passage of the different forces of the universe. The vital organism is distinguished from all other objects in that it is an indeterminate center which serves as a focal point for the processes in reality. When certain processes, certain activities, reach the nervous system, they are checked. This checking of the processes which are going on in nature seems to Bergson to be the essential character of the living form. This characteristic involves not simply the selection of stimuli but also a stoppage of the process of experience itself until a decision in regard to future activity has been reached. He does not elaborate the ground for this stoppage, but it may be stated in terms of a conflict of the different sensibilities. The organism has tendencies

(321) which would lead it to react in different ways to different stimuli. Out of these different tendencies arise conflicts which require deliberation. This deliberation means that the life-process has got to be held up, so to speak, until the various possible responses have been held passive long enough for a selection to be made among them. This is the difference which will be most immediately noticeable in comparing a living organism to a stone. The part of the response which is held up in this way, Bergson says, constitutes the representation; in other words) it is the conscious perception. If It were not for the checking, we would perceive the whole universe.

Thus we are really brought to the core of the whole doctrine. The implication clearly is that our conduct, in so far as it is not conscious, in so far as it simply goes on as a part of an inclusive process, is sensitized, so to speak, to the whole of reality. Could we catch it in that condition, we would see the nature of things as they really are. But the way into that vision is not through conscious reflection. That stops the process. Consciousness arises only when our impulses lead us into conflict-conflict that must be solved before conduct can go on effectively. As long as conduct is held up, we get conscious representations of the stimuli which are relevant to the solution of the present difficulty. But we have representations only of these. In selecting some, we neglect and ignore others. If we are to catch reality at its core, we must turn to a more instinctive level. We must catch it while the process is going on. Since this is impossible in Consciousness, Bergson says that consciousness is inadequate. Through this we are directed to pure perception, that is, to the perceptions which would show us the total interpenetration of things, were we able to become aware of this inner process. Conscious perception arises only when the process is checked, and thus never gives us the "inside" of it, so to speak. We must use "intuition." Only intuition can save us from the distortion which comes with reflection. In other words, Bergson is interested in intuition as opening the door to another type of metaphysics than that which can be gotten through reflection,

(322) through scientific description. This is why his system is ultimately an irrationalism.

Paralleling this field of pure perception is another, the field of pure memory. Here again, as in the case of pure perception, if the influence could go through, there would be no image, no consciousness. just as there are many objects about us to which we adjust ourselves (sic) without perception, situations to which we give only slight attention, so there are memory images which are present, as if there were an undifferentiated field of memory which never rises to the level of reflection. These images are present as a part of the ongoing process, but their efficacy is not required in setting up the process by which stimuli are selected out; they are not required as means to the direction of our conduct. Therefore, like pure perception, pure memory represents a deeper, more fundamental aspect of the basic process. Our conscious memories are an expression of the selection that we make among the stimuli presented. Pure memory, on the other hand, answers to the whole of our experience, as pure perception answers to our instinctive contact with the whole of reality. It is not connected with our central nervous system. It must be independent of this system, for the central nervous system is itself simply one of the images. Pure memory is, of course, as different from memory as it enters into our experience as pure perception is from ordinary perception. The function of the central nervous system is the same in each case-it is a selecting and dissecting organ.

This brings us to another individual and interesting point of Bergson's position. This dissection of experience that goes on under the influence of the central nervous system and which gives us the world of ordinary perception and which calls up our usual memory images is a materializing process. His doctrine involves an assumption of a world of images over against the customary psychological doctrine, which assumes that sensations and memory images are functions of the central nervous system. This is, of course, true of ordinary perception and memory in so far as each is a result of the process of selection which

(323) is carried out in the central nervous system. Even here, however, the relation is not the one ordinarily presented. The selection of which Bergson speaks is something very different from the process that is implied in the idea of the functional relationship of the central nervous system and the images presented. The images are a part of the process of pure perception and pure memory, which are themselves not the result of any structure within the organism but a part of the world of images in which the representations of the organism and of the central nervous system are included. These particular images are caught at one moment and then another. Having been selected, presenting, as they do, the stoppage of the process, they are mechanized bits. Using Bergson's illustration, they are the dead fragments of an exploded shell through which the process must keep pushing on, only to reach a new point of conflict in which the same materialization occurs again. The process itself is the complete interrelation of the parts of the universe so that all share in a common reality. According to Bergson, the philosopher has been led astray by the analysis of the scientist into thinking that the conceptual object is a clue to the real nature of things. On the contrary, these are not concepts of anything; they are a part of the process of the materialization which occurs in perception. The object is there as a reflection back of the process. I must confess that what this "reflection back" is I am unable to isolate.

It is interesting in this connection to note that the world of images which Bergson presents is adequate for scientific statements. Scientific objects are objects of hypothetical character; and, as such, they have imaginable contents which are essential to the hypothesis to which they belong. At least this is the way I see it. Scientific hypotheses vary constantly. The test of them comes back finally to the test of our own experience. Now the question is whether or not conceptual objects appear in our hypotheses without any imaginable content. I do not see any reason for abandoning the imaginable world with which Bergson deals. Our scientific experience always implies the dis-

(324) -tance experience and the contact experience. What the distance experience is, is immaterial to the imagination. The microscope and the telescope extend our powers of contact in two very notable directions. But imagination goes beyond them. The electron, if not the atom, is conceived in the imagination. These are not, at least as yet, contact experiences. This simply means that some sort of distance experience is essential. The problem, then, is of the nature of these concepts. Concepts are not supposed to involve any necessary imaginable stuff. The concept is defined in terms of the conditions under which a process of analysis is carried on. Here you get a conceptual account without filling your concepts out with stuff. Does the reality of the object involve the effective occupation of space as revealed by the contact experience? You cannot have a concept which is itself an object. It is a concept of something, conceivably of a matter that occupies space. The contact experience would give the material stuff which answers to the distance experience. But at least we are sure that we can give no exact statement of size, for example, of the stuff of the contact experience. It is Poincaré who points out that there is no absolute size to which the material universe could be reduced. Then, too, the scientist sets up a noumenal world which lies beyond contact experience. It is true that some of the relativists, notably Einstein, assume that our spatial time world is entirely relative to the individual. Such a doctrine gives to each individual his own world. But among these worlds we find uniformities which seem to lead us even here to the necessity of setting up a noumenal reality the events and interrelations of which lie beyond our own experience. It is this problem which Bergson proposes to meet through his doctrine of the world as images and, as I said before, I do not see any reason for abandoning this imaginable world.

Where Bergson gets into his greatest difficulty is in failing to see, or at least to state adequately, that the reflective part of consciousness, which is the source of our inadequate representations of reality, is only one part of the whole process which he

(325) identifies with analysis. Bergson insists that objects are in experience-in pure experience, so to speak-without our being aware of them. Becoming aware of an object is an analytic process. Of course, if your fundamental position is that when we know things we tear them to pieces, then you are going to have distortion. But if you have objects in your experience which you can enjoy as well as analyze the necessity of the intuitive relation seems, to me, to disappear. In other words, Bergson's immediate intention furnishes the blind spot in his philosophy. He fails to see that the flow, the freedom, the novelty, the interpenetration, the creativity, upon which he sets such store, are not necessarily limited to the interpenetration of experiences in the inner flow of consciousness. They may also be gotten in an objective statement just as soon as we see that the objects of experience have the same type of interpenetration, the same essential spread, as that which Bergson discovers in our inner experience; as soon as we see that the ideas which we get in reflection, the objects which we get in science, and against which Bergson is particularly vehement, are the result of analysis and are not presumed to be reports of the nature of the objects themselves. It is this correction of the Bergsonian philosophy which, it seems to me, Mr. Whitehead has most effectively made, up to the present at least


  1. From this point to the end of the chapter the material has been taken from class notes of Mr. George A. Pappas. They are from a course in "The Philosophy of Bergson," as offered during the summer of 1927

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2