30 Dec 2008

Bergson, Time and Free Will, Chapter 2, §50 "What is Number?"

by Corry Shores
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[The following is summary; my commentary is in brackets.]

Bergson, Time and Free Will

Chapter II, "The Multiplicity of Conscious States," "The Idea of Duration"

Part XVI: Numerical Multiplicity and Space

§50 "What is Number?"

Generally speaking, number is a collection of units. More precisely: number is the synthesis of the one and the many. (75b)

Every number is one, since it is brought before the mind by a simple intuition and is given a name; but the unity which attaches to it is that of a sum, it covers a multiplicity of parts which can be considered separately.


Bergson will put aside questions regarding unity and multiplicity, and instead "inquire whether the idea of number does not imply the representation of something else as well" (76a).

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Images from the pages summarized above, in the English Translation [click on the image for an enlargement]:

Images from the pages summarized above, in the original French [click on the image for an enlargement]:

Bergson, Henri. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, Transl. F. L. Pogson, (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2001).

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French text from:

Bergson, Henri. Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience. Originally published Paris: Les Presses universitaires de France, 1888.

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