Bergson Essay Consciousness

Hence, either a psychophysical formula is possible or the intensity of a simple psychic state is pure quality.Turning then to the concept of multiplicity, we saw that to construct a number we must first have the intuition of a homogeneous medium, (226) viz.

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Now just as, in order to ascertain the real rela- (224) -tions of physical phenomena to one another, we abstract whatever obviously clashes with them in our way of perceiving and thinking, so, in order to view the self in its original purity, psychology ought to eliminate or correct certain forms which bear the obvious mark of the external world. When isolated from one another and regarded as so many distinct units, psychic states seem to be more or less intense.

Next, looked at in their multiplicity, they unfold in time and constitute duration.

172-175, geometrical representation of process of coming to a decision, 175-178, the fallacies to which it leads determinists and libertarians, 179-183 ; Real duration and prediction, 183-198 : conditions of Paul's prediction of Peter's action (I) being Peter (2) knowing already his final act, 184-18g, the three fallacies involved, 190-192, astronomical prediction depends on hypothetical acceleration of movements, 193-195, duration cannot be thus accelerated, 196-198 ; Real duration and causality, 199-221 : the law " same antecedents, same consequents," 199-201, causality as regular succession, 202-203, causality as prefiguring : two kinds (1) prefiguring as mathematical pre-existence ; implies non-duration, but we endure and therefore may be free, 204-210, (2) prefiguring as having idea of future act to be realized by effort; does not involve determinism, 211-214, determinism results from confusing these two senses, 215-218 ; Freedom real but indefinable, 219-221.

States of self perceived through forms borrowed from external world, 223 ; Intensity as quality, 225 ; Duration as qualitative multiplicity, 226 ; No duration in the external world, 227 ; Extensity and duration must be separated, 229 ; Only the fundamental self free, 231 ; ]Kant's mistaken idea of time as homogeneous, 232, hence he put the self which is free outside both space and time, 233 ; Duration is heterogeneous, relation of psychic state to act is unique, and act is free, 235-240.

In a word, the moments of inner duration are not external to one another. The present only, or, if we prefer the expression, simultaneity.

Bergson Essay Consciousness

No doubt external things change, but their moments do not succeed one another, if we retain the ordinary meaning of the word, except for a consciousness which keeps them in mind.Hence number or discrete multiplicity also results from a compromise.Now, when we consider material objects in themselves, we give up this compromise, since we regard them as impenetrable and divisible, i.e. Therefore, we must give it up, too, when we study our own selves.This tendency has become more and more marked since Kant: while the German philosopher drew a sharp line of separation between time and space, the extensive and the intensive, and, as we should say to-day, consciousness and external perception, the empirical school, carrying analysis still further, tries to reconstruct the extensive out of the intensive, space out of duration, and externality out of inner states.Physics, moreover, comes in to complete the work of psychology in this respect : it shows that, if we wish to forecast It seemed to us that there was good reason to set ourselves the opposite problem and to ask whether the most obvious states of the ego itself, which we believe that we grasp directly, are not mostly perceived through the medium of certain forms borrowed from the external world, which thus gives us back what we have lent it.Hence we must not say that external things endure, but rather that there is in them sonic inexpressible reason in virtue of which we cannot examine them at successive moments of our own duration without observing that they have changed.But this change does not involve succession unless the word is taken in a new meaning on this point we have noted the agreement of science and common sense.We observe outside us at a given moment a whole system of simultaneous positions ; of the simultaneities which have preceded them nothing remains.To put duration in space is really to contradict oneself and place succession within simultaneity.Now you give up this compromise without the least scruple when you study external things, since you then leave aside the forces themselves, assuming that they exist, and consider only their measurable and extended effects.Why, then, do you keep to this hybrid concept when you analyse in its turn the state of consciousness ?

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