30 Dec 2009

Einstein's Time is Actual but not Durational §75. Ch.4.One or Many Durations? Bergsonism. DeleuzeBergsonism. Deleuze

[The following summarizes parts of Deleuze's Bergsonism. My commentary is in brackets. Paragraph subheadings are my own.]

Gilles Deleuze

Le bergsonisme

Une ou plusieurs durées ?
One or Many Durations?

Previously Deleuze reviewed Bergson's account of Einstein's relativity. For Einstein, relativity implies a multiplicity of times. But for Bergson, the assumptions of relativity should lead us to conclude that there is but one duration, and not a fractured multiplicity of them. Nonetheless, duration itself is still a multiplicity of sorts, for Bergson.

§75 Einstein's Time is Actual but not Durational

So now Deleuze wonders, what sort of multiplicity is duration, for Bergson? Deleuze has us recall Bergson's two sorts of multiplicities [See §32 and §33 for this prior treatment]:

1) Actual multiplicities. These are numerical and discontinuous.

2) Virtual multiplicities. These are continuous and qualitative.

Einstein posits there being a multiplicity of discretely different times, each depending on the position of the observer [For more, see Bergson's Duration and Simultaneity, particularly the first chapter]. Hence Einstein's time for Bergson is an actual multiplicity rather than a virtual one. According to Deleuze, Bergson criticizes Einstein for having confused these two sorts of multiplicities, which also resulted in Einstein confusing time with space [perhaps because time which can be stretched is an extensive and hence spatialized time]. Yet duration as we saw is still a multiplicity for Bergson. The question is, what kind of multiplicity is it? Deleuze says that Bergson's duration is "a single, universal and impersonal Time" (80ab).

Deleuze, Gilles. Bergsonism. Transl. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. New York: Zone Books, 1991.Deleuze, Gilles.

Deleuze, Gilles. Le bergsonisme. Paris : Presses Universitaires de France, 1966.

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