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By David Kreps

It is a booklet approximately evolution from a post-Darwinian point of view. It recounts the center rules of French thinker Henri Bergson and his rediscovery and legacy within the poststructuralist severe philosophies of the Nineteen Sixties, and explores the confluences of those rules with these of complexity idea in environmental biology.

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Sample text

The reality of the human condition is always a blend of the two. Memory, in the human being, is something that gives the flow of our perceptions from periphery through the centre to periphery, the possibility of choice. We can pause, in the centre of action that is our body, and compare the motor mechanism action ready to react to our perceptions with previous ones, in our memory, and weigh up the pros and cons of different outcomes. We may, indeed, choose not to act at all, which is where Bergson refers to the ‘virtual’ – actions that are potential, neither occurring, nor merely memory.

26 The very transcendental and metaphysical view of intuition that Kant and others rejected, Bergson also rejects. Yet this does not mean that intuition does not exist, in a much more present, sensuous and conscious form; and Kant himself made very strong arguments that were intuition to exist, it would indeed be the way in which to grasp absolute knowledge of things. 29 In his celebrated lectures on The Perception of Change to the University of Oxford in 1911 (published in extended form in 1946) Bergson indeed suggests that metaphysics ‘as a matter of fact, was born of the arguments of Zeno of Elea on the subject of change and movement’,30 and the ancients’ misapprehension of the nature of mobility.

He reminds the reader of ‘the specific feeling of duration which our consciousness has when it does away with convention and habit and gets back to its natural attitude,’ and enjoins us to remember this understanding of the durée réelle as he shows us how ‘at the root of most errors in philosophy’ one can find precisely this ‘confusion between ... ’33 This is the core idea of the durée réelle: a conception of a continuous reality that is tempero-spatial, in direct contrast to the discontinuous, scientific conception of the spatio-temporal discrete moment that science casts as the real.

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