Foundations of Science 24 (3):541-557 (2019)

Steve Peck
Brigham Young University
Early 20th century philosopher Henri Bergson posited an initial push that propelled the diversity of life forward into a varied, novel future: The élan vital, a necessary force or impulse that animated life’s progress and development. His idea had largely been abandoned by mid-century. Even so, much of the conceptual and explanatory work this impulse targeted is yet in want of an explanation. In particular, Bergson’s derelict ideas on evolution addressed three areas that have once again become relevant in the effort to unite evolutionary genetics, biological development, and ecological context : the purposeful nature of individual organisms and their parts; the integrative, holistic, non-linear emergent dynamics seen in evolutionary processes; and how genuine novelty emerges into the universe :422, 2016; Simondon et al. in On the mode of existence of technical objects. Univocal series, Univocal Publishing LLC, Minneapolis, 2017; Bang, in: Winther-Lindqvist, Bang, Valsiner Nothingness: philosophical insights into psychology, Transaction Publishers, Somerset, 2016; Moreno and Mossio in Biological autonomy: a philosophical and theoretical enquiry. History, philosophy and theory of the life sciences, Springer, Dordrecht, 2015). In this paper I argue that Bergson’s ideas may yet be relevant to these questions, and his work warrants a reexamination in light of current problems in evolutionary biology. This is not a call to ‘return’ to Bergson, nevertheless his notions about complexity suggest ways of looking at current biological problems in ways that offer a heuristic insight worth entertaining. Bergson’s Nobel Prize-winning book, Creative Evolution, provided a strikingly prescient early 20th century framework for understanding how Darwinian evolution acts as an engine for generating new forms, University Press of America, Lanham, Bergson 1911).
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-019-09598-4
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References found in this work BETA

On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects.Gilbert Simondon - 2011 - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 5 (3):407-424.
Creative Evolution.Henri Bergson & Arthur Mitchell - 1911 - International Journal of Ethics 22 (4):467-469.

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