The Defects of Bergson's Epistemology and Their Consequences on His Metaphysics

Studies in East European Thought 69 (1):17-24 (2017)
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This is a translation from the Russian of Nikolai Lossky’s “Heдocтaтки гнoceoлoгiи Бepгcoнa и влiянie иxъ нa eгo мeтaфизикy” (The Defects of Bergson’s Epistemology and Their Consequences on His Metaphysics), which was published in the journal Boпpocы филocoфiи и пcиxoлoгiи (Questions of Philosophy and Psychology) in 1913. In this article, Lossky criticizes Bergson’s epistemological dualism, which completely separates intuition from reason, and which rejects reason in favor of intuition. For Bergson, reality is continuous, indivisible, fluid, etc., and reason distorts it through its acts of division, abstraction, extraction, and so on. Lossky argues that this conclusion does not follow. Reason does not distort the living flow of reality; it rather provides a window unto aspects of the otherwise undivided seamless flowing organic whole. In fact, reason is itself a species of intuition in its own right, namely an intellectual intuition, the object of which is the atemporal facet of the world (the Platonic ideal realm), which is necessary for the existence of its temporal facet. Lossky thus challenges Bergson’s one-sided and self-defeating reduction of being to a flux of changes devoid of changing things. (Frédéric Tremblay)



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Frederic Tremblay
University at Buffalo (PhD)

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