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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2019

Bergson and Naturalism


My claim in this paper is that Bergson's vitalism constitutes only a pseudo-naturalism that serves a a cover for pursuing a traditional metaphysical project. Bergson seems to work in the same direction as pragmatism in the effort to overcome the entrenched opposition between evolutionist, reductionist, naturalist materialism and exceptionalism, anti naturalist spiritualism. His intermediary position is to underscore the continuity between biological life and human social, moral, and political life, and at the same time to defend the latter's irreducible specificity over against the biological nature of human species. Yet, this does not about to a naturalist position, for two reasons suggested by pragmatist notions. First, with formulations such as "supra consciousness", Bergson reasserts the primacy of mind over matter and life so that he ends up by "supernaturalizing" nature itself. Second, an examination of Bergson's method of identifying "differences in kind" reveals that the way he integrates humanity into the natural evolution of species perfectly accords with the foundationalist project of metaphysics to discover a supreme source of authority for human norms and values.
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Dates et versions

hal-02421765 , version 1 (20-12-2019)



Stéphane Madelrieux. Bergson and Naturalism. Alexandre Lefebvre; Nils F. Schott. Interpreting Bergson: Critical Essays, Cambridge University Press, pp.48-66, 2019, 9781108367455. ⟨10.1017/9781108367455.004⟩. ⟨hal-02421765⟩
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