Bergson, Henri (1859-1941) - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Two Kinds of Time

Of central importance in Bergson's outlook is his distinction between the time that occurs in the theories of natural science and the time that we directly experience. Scientific time is a mathematical conception, symbolized in physical theory by the letter t and measured by clocks and chronometers. Because these measuring instruments are spatial bodies, scientific time is represented as an extended, homogeneous medium, composed of standard units (years, hours, seconds). Most of man's practical life in society is dominated by these units. But time thus represented neither "flows" nor "acts." It exists passively, like a line drawn on a surface. When we turn to our direct experience, Bergson urged, we find nothing that corresponds to this mathematical conception. What we find, on the contrary, is a flowing, irreversible succession of states that melt into each other to form an indivisible process. This process...

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This section contains 8,159 words
(approx. 28 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Bergson, Henri (1859-1941) Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Bergson, Henri (1859-1941) from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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