Spirit and dualistic ontology

01 Jun

Since the thought of Permenides and Heraclitus, Western philosophy oscillates between Being and Becoming, without either having a clear answer to the question of the spirit, or we fall into the subjectivism of the Soul that comes from Neoplatonists like Plotinus, who said that only the Soul is One, or we fall into a modern dialectical vision: thesis, synthesis and antithesis, which is the result of Becoming.

Among the authors who tried to break with this dualism is Bergson, who introduces the question of the spirit in his thought, trying to deconstruct the ontology outlined from the 20th century. XVII attacking the old theory of knowledge, which elaborates concepts and properties sustained in the denial of time and in the concept of duration linked to Ser.

Bergson’s thought, roughly speaking, is a traditional metaphysics starting from the pre-Socratics’ options between Being and Becoming, and he chooses substantiality (permanence) and idea (fixity) as pillars of his thought, so “search for the reality of things”. over time, beyond what moves” (Bergson, 1959, p. 1259) (see the cone in picture).

It can be said that the problem in Bergson’s reflection lies in the genetic analysis of representation, and this in turn is linked to the clash of dualism itself in the philosophical tradition, especially the modern one, that is, the critique of the opposition between “realism x idealism”.

After discussing the issue of Memory and Matter, the high point of his philosophy, he falls into the trap of Western thought defining the terms of the problem in terms of “images” (for some authors it would be the middle way between the thing and its perception in the “being”), and in this way, incapable of the excesses of the “material thing”, intends to “spiritual representation”.

Thus the image is a presence in the senses allowing the naive and direct description of the experience (or perception) of matter, it can be said that the new dualism is tied to the meaning of the spiritual representation, and thus one could break with the dualism body and soul (or mind).

The question of representation permeates his thought, so spirit is just a resource for it, in his Essay this is made clear by the division of the chapters: if the first deals with the “Selection” for representation, the second and third will analyze the “recognition” while the fourth will deal with the metaphysical conception of matter, by defining it as totality and extensive continuity (reminiscent of the Cartesian res-extensive) and presents it as a solution to the problem of dualism, the “delimitation and fixation of images”.

So Kant’s transcendence between subject and object is just put another way, so the question of Spirit is just an ingenious ruse, but it doesn’t resolve idealist dualism.

BERGSON, H. (1959) Oeuvres Edition du Centenaire. Paris: PUF.




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