Abstract

Bergson imputes the generation of false problems in philosophy to the idea of nothingness and negative concepts. Yet, all his books are fraught with oppositional thinking, such as the oppositions between space and time, quantity and quality, life and matter. Understandably, this apparent discrepancy has led a philosopher like Merleau-Ponty to speak of inconsistency, while Jankélévitch and others counter the charge of inconsistency by arguing that Bergsonism embraces operational opposition as opposed to substantial opposition. This article disagrees with both interpretations and proposes a solution based on the need to distinguish between the level of intuitive vision of the unity of nature and the level of representative analysis whose defining feature is that it operates by means of opposing concepts. The progression from representation to intuition transcends opposition and unites life and matter in the vision of a self-surpassing effort or élan.

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