10 Mar 2009

Research Directory for Bergson's Time and Free Will (Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience) [with special relevance for Deleuzean research

by Corry Shores
[Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]

[Central Entry Directory]
[Bergson, Entry Directory]
[Bergson Time and Free Will, Entry Directory]

Research Directory for
Bergson's Time and Free Will
(Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience)
[with special relevance for Deleuzean research]

Intensities are not quantitative, because we cannot superpose them upon each other for comparisons of magnitude.

§9 [graceful artist's virtual sympathy for us]


Affective sensations and representative sensations are like Hume's impressions and ideas.

S to S'. We do not experience the reality of ΔS between S and S'. So sensation states are discrete.

One and Many [see also contraction, synthesis]

Contraction, synthesis

Mental acts discrete or indivisible [see also S to S']

Multiplicity [see also one and many]

Time [also see duration]

Duration [also see time]


Space does not retain events; they pass into non-existence.

Speed, velocity


Symbol [begin indexing §78]

Zeno's paradoxes


Bergson's Examples

Intensity wrongly considered a spring that is contracted and will expand extensionally. It is as though it were virtually extended in a compressed space.

We judge it more painful when a tooth is pulled then when a hair is pulled, even without knowing the strength of the cause. So this should not be our criteria for determining intensities.

Motion of air molecules affects motion of nervous tissue. But we have sensations of things and not sensations of nervous tissue.

Desire spreads as a series of states.
§8 [Joy and sorrow also]

Dancer's grace has rhythm that evokes our sympathy and takes it through a progress of successive different states or stages.

Wind's of Aeolus. We often imagine that our bodily movements are generated by stored psychic forces "imprisoned in the soul like the winds in the cave of Aeolus

Person with amputated leg seems to expend intensive energy when trying to move lost leg. Bergson shows he really just tenses other muscles.

Pretend pulling a trigger. Seems like we use intensive energy, but we really just tense other muscles.

Those with paralyzed eye seem to sense visual changes when try to move it, but really their good eye moves.

Clenching our fist seems to increase intensity in fist when really just activates muscles in rest of body.
Same for weight-lifter.

When we focus our attention on something, it seems there is an increase of intensity, when really our head muscles contract.

It seems at certain times we are more enraged than others, when really more of our body is involved.

[Our own colored sign example: sensation-changes are always qualitative.]

Sensation changes like different members of symphony coming to play more similarly.
As our disgust seems to get stronger, really just more of our body is involved.
When in agony, more of our body reacts as though to escape the pain.
Pleasure is our body's tendency toward something that makes us feel good.

Body vibrating to sound, being dazzled by blinding light, or pleasure and pain, are representative sensations.

Clock ticking at night dominates more of our psychic states so it sounds louder than during the day.

We prick our arm harder-and-harder with a pin. It might seem that intensity of sensation increases. Really we go through series of states like tickle and pain, and also more muscles in our body increasingly become involved in the pain and in the muscle effort of pricking ourselves.

We clap our hands harder. It seems we have a greater sensation of sound. Really we mistake the amount of muscle effort with the amount of sensation.

The fact that higher pitches seem to be more intense results from our needing to use muscles higher in our throat to reach those higher notes.

We lift an empty basket that we think contains scrap metal. We fly backwards, because more of our body's muscles prepared for the greater weight.

We successively blow out four candles illuminating a sheet of paper. It seems our sensation of the paper decreases, when really it just changed qualitatively.

Delboeuf's concentric circles.

Color associations to luminous intensities does not prove quantitative difference of sensation.

Shepherd's sheep each individual but counted as identical.
Same for military battalion.

Children learn to count by seeing spatially distinct objects. We then symbolically abstract and always in some sense count spatially.

Hear footsteps in the dark. We project their distance. But really there are no spatial features to sensation.

Hear a bell toll the hour. We place a representative image for each toll in ideal space so that they may be counted spatially.

Rhythm of music allows us to spatialize its duration (or perhaps just a qualitative feel).

We cannot imagine two bodies in the same place. This results from us projecting numerical discrete spatiality onto the world around us.

Close our eyes, block-out exterior world: we perceive duration and not time.

We run our hand along the table, and we have a series of sensations. Might seem that we can define spatial relations as ones differing temporally. But really if we speak of time we already presuppose space.

Notes of a melody "melt" into each other in pure duration. Here there is no spatialized time, so mental states contract into each other.

Conscious point A does not know it moves in a line. Our mental states are not linear successions.

To say a pendulum's oscillation beats 60 times a minute is to place those mental states of each beat along a line.

We fall asleep to a pendulum because all the beats contracted, giving it a qualitative effect.

We do not recall past pendulum swings when experiencing pure duration.

Pendulum swing and clock arm are regarded as sharing simultaneities.

Close our eyes. Dart them. When open, let them dart to see a shooting star. We have both a qualitative sensation of motion as well as an extensive one.

Zeno's Paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise. Each of Achilles' discrete step actions has greater extension than the Tortoise's.

Astronomer predicts future heavenly events. The spans of time between calculated occurrences is mathematical and does not have duration, which is why she can perform the prediction in seconds even though people will experience years of duration before they see it.

Rocks falling. Bergson gives an empirical way to find instantaneous velocity. He demonstrates that science deals with simultaneities and not durations.

The anvil counts blows by feeling. If an anvil could feel and count the hammer falls, it would do so by noticing the qualitatively different feel of each succeeding blow.

Tradesman price things below whole numbers. This is makes the number feel different: numbers are qualitative.

We feel numerical qualities to count bell tolls that happened moments ago. We did not count them as they happened, but we recall the feeling that number has. And we translate that numerical quality into a quantity.

Paul wants to predict Peter's future free decision. He cannot, thus determinists cannot claim that we can make such predictions.

Evil Genius. He makes time twice as fast, but we cannot measure it, because our measuring devices move twice as fast.

See shooting star as one simultaneous line. This is like how astronomers speed-up time to see many centuries of eclipses all in an instant.

Walk through town. We have two sorts of impressions at the same time: our immediate continuously altering durational impressions, and those we fix, symbolize, and group together to allow us to recognize houses, despite the absolute uniqueness of each moment we perceive them.

Someone tells us food will be exquisite, changes how we taste it. Language deceives our sensations.

Novelist produces homogeneous time, but in a way that points us to inner duration.

Artificially distinguished mental states melt back together like snow crystals when we concentrate on them.

Invisible musician playing behind the scenes while actor strikes keyboard without sound. Those who think that consciousness arises determinatively from physical states regard our mind states as coming from somewhere else and somehow superposing upon our brain's physical states.

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