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A Review
Henri Louis Bergson's Book
Creative Evolution
Chapter III: On The Meaning of Life The Order of Nature
and the
Form of Intelligence
Topic 28: Science and Philosophy
by Doug Renselle
Doug's Pre-review Commentary
Start of Review

Chapter I II
Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 
Chapter III IV
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47

Move to any Topic of Henri Louis Bergson's Creative Evolution,
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Topic 28...............Science and Philosophy


(Most quotes verbatim Henri Louis Bergson, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)


"At first sight, it may seem prudent to leave the consideration of facts to positive science, to let physics and chemistry busy themselves with matter, the biological and psychological sciences with life. The task of the philosopher is then clearly defined. He takes facts and laws from the scientists' hand; and whether he tries to go beyond them in order to reach their deeper causes, or whether he thinks it impossible to go further and even proves it by the analysis of scientific knowledge, in both cases he has for the facts and relations, handed over by science, the sort of respect that is due to a final verdict. To this knowledge he adds a critique of the faculty of knowing, and also, if he thinks proper, a metaphysic; but the matter of knowledge he regards as the affair of science and not of philosophy.

"But how does he fail to see that the real result of this so-called division [Is that di-vision?] of labor is to mix up everything and confuse everything? The metaphysic or the critique that the philosopher has reserved for himself he has to receive, ready-made, from positive science, it being already contained in the descriptions and analyses, the whole care of which he left to the scientists. For not having wished to intervene, at the beginning, in questions of fact, he finds himself reduced, in questions of principle, to formulating purely and simply in more precise terms the unconscious and consequently inconsistent metaphysic and critique which the very attitude of science to reality marks out. Let us not be deceived by an apparent analogy between natural things and human things."

(Our brackets and bold.)

Bergson restarts his footnote counts on each page. So to refer a footnote, one must state page number and footnote number.

Our bold and color highlights follow a code:

  • black-bold - important to read if you are just scanning our review
  • green-bold - we see Bergson suggesting axiomatic memes
  • violet-bold - an apparent classical problematic
  • blue-bold - we disagree with this text segment while disregarding context of Bergson's overall text
  • gray-bold - quotable text
  • red-bold - our direct commentary

Henri, Oh! Great Mentor of us, those words you use, their classical notions are all bogus! See Doug's QELRs of positive, define, fact, law, cause, and proof. See our declaration of define as problematic.

And, dear Henri, quantum~reality, is quantum~flux whose quantum~hologramings "mix up everything!"

Doug - 15Apr2008.

But, but, but Henri, scientists call themselves "physi-cists!" They call themselves "natur-cists!"



"Here we are not in the judiciary domain, where the description of fact and the judgment on the fact are two distinct things, distinct for the very simple reason that above the fact, and independent of it, there is a law promulgated by a legislator. Here the laws are internal to the facts and relative to the lines that have been followed in cutting the real into distinct facts. We cannot describe the outward appearance of the object without prejudging its inner nature and its organization. Form is no longer entirely isolable from matter, and he who has begun by reserving to philosophy questions of principle, and who has thereby tried to put philosophy above the sciences, as a "court of cassation" [abrogation of higher authority] is above the courts of assizes and of appeal, will gradually come to make no more of philosophy than a registration court, charged at most with wording more precisely the sentences that are brought to it, pronounced and irrevocable.

"Positive science is, in fact, a work of pure intellect. Now, whether our conception of the intellect be accepted or rejected, there is one point on which everybody will agree with us, and that is that the intellect is at home in the presence of unorganized matter. This matter it makes use of more and more by mechanical inventions, and mechanical inventions become the easier to it the more it thinks matter as mechanism. The intellect bears within itself, in the form of natural logic, a latent geometrism that is set free in the measure and proportion that the intellect penetrates into the inner nature of inert matter. Intelligence is in tune with this matter, and that is why the physics and metaphysics of inert matter are so near each other. Now, when the intellect undertakes the study of life, it necessarily treats the living like the inert, applying the same forms to this new object, carrying over into this new field the same habits that have succeeded so well in the old; and it is right to do so, for only on such terms does the living offer to our action the same hold as inert matter."

(Our brackets and bold.)















"But the truth we thus arrive at becomes altogether relative to our faculty of action. It is no more than a symbolic verity. It cannot have the same value as the physical verity, being only an extension of physics to an object which we are a priori agreed to look at only in its external aspect. The duty of philosophy should be to intervene here actively, to examine the living without any reservation as to practical utility, by freeing itself from forms and habits that are strictly intellectual. Its own special object is to speculate, that is to say, to see; its attitude toward the living should not be that of science, which aims only at action, and which, being able to act only by means of inert matter, presents to itself the rest of reality in this single respect. What must the result be, if it leave biological and psychological facts to positive science alone, as it has left, and rightly left, physical facts? It will accept a priori a mechanistic conception of all nature, a conception unreflected and even unconscious, the outcome of the material need. It will a priori accept the doctrine of the simple unity of knowledge and of the abstract unity of nature.

"The moment it does so, its fate is sealed. The philosopher has no longer any choice save between a metaphysical dogmatism and a metaphysical skepticism, both of which rest, at bottom, on the same postulate, and neither of which adds anything to positive science. He may hypostasize the unity of nature, or, what comes to the same thing, the unity of science, in a being who is nothing since he does nothing, an ineffectual God who simply sums up in himself all the given; or in an eternal Matter from whose womb have been poured out the properties of things and the laws of nature; or, again, in a pure Form which endeavors to seize an unseizable multiplicity, and which is, as we will, the form of nature or the form of thought."

(Our bold and color.)








And here we see another SOM relic: "hypostasis." Classicism's legacy Grundlage is a oneverse, a universe. It is unilogical, immutable—an infinitely divisible monolith. Reality is not hypostatic, rather it is hypodynamic. Since Plato and Aristotle classicists have assumed a homogeneous analytic continuum of hypostases. They were and are wrong. Reality is a heterogeneous stochastic ubiquity of hypodynamics. All quantons are in Planck rate hypodynamis.



"All these philosophies tell us, in their different languages, that science is right to treat the living as the inert, and that there is no difference of Value, no distinction to be made between the results which intellect arrives at in applying its categories, whether it rests on inert matter or attacks life.

"In many cases, however, we feel the frame cracking. But as we did not begin by distinguishing between the inert and the living, the one adapted in advance to the frame in which we insert it, the other incapable of being held in the frame otherwise than by a convention which eliminates from it all that is essential, we find ourselves, in the end, reduced to regarding everything the frame contains with equal suspicion. To a metaphysical dogmatism, which has erected into an absolute the factitious unity of science, there succeeds a skepticism or a relativism that universalizes and extends to all the results of science the artificial character of some among them. So [classical] philosophy swings to and fro between the doctrine that regards absolute reality as unknowable and that which, in the idea it gives us of this reality, says nothing more than science has said. For having wished to prevent all conflict between science and philosophy, we have sacrificed philosophy without any appreciable gain to science. And for having tried to avoid the seeming vicious circle which consists in using the intellect to transcend the intellect, we find ourselves turning in a real circle, that which consists in laboriously rediscovering by metaphysics a unity that we began by positing a priori, a unity that we admitted blindly and unconsciously by the very act of abandoning the whole of experience to science and the whole of reality to the pure understanding."

(Our brackets, bold, and color.)













"Let us begin, on the contrary, by tracing a line of demarcation between the inert and the living. We shall find that the inert enters naturally into the frames of the intellect, but that the living is adapted to these frames only artificially, so that we must adopt a special attitude towards it and examine it with other eyes than those of positive science. Philosophy, then, invades the domain of experience. She busies herself with many things which hitherto have not concerned her. Science, theory of knowledge, and metaphysics find themselves on the same ground. At first there may be a certain confusion. All three may think they have lost something. But all three will profit from the meeting.

"Positive science, indeed, may pride itself on the uniform value attributed to its affirmations in the whole field of experience. But, if they are all placed on the same footing, they are all tainted with the same relativity. It is not so, if we begin by making the distinction which, in our view, is forced upon us. The understanding is at home in the domain of unorganized matter. On this matter human action is naturally exercised; and action, as we said above, cannot be set in motion in the unreal. Thus, of physics—so long as we are considering only its general form and not the particular cutting out of matter in which it is manifested—we may say that it touches the absolute. On the contrary, it is by accident—chance or convention, as you please—that science obtains a hold on the living analogous to the hold it has on matter. Here the use of conceptual frames is no longer natural. I do not wish to say that it is not legitimate, in the scientific meaning of the term. If science is to extend our action on things, and if we can act only with inert matter for instrument, science can and must continue to treat the living as it has treated the inert."

(Our bold and color.)







As Bergson so eloquently shows, science has conventionally disabled itself to any understanding of reality, and has been that way for over 2300 years. And we are delighted to hear him use chance as an analogue for convention. Indeed that is so. Once we admit many truths, i.e., a Jamesian, evolute, empirical plurality, we then open our eyes that science's convention is only one of a potential infinity of conventions. And was it chosen from among many? Implicitly yes. Explicitly, no. It was chosen by Plato and Aristotle and their inert ilk. Did they benchmark their convention? No! Did they take a chance? Now we know they did, but they would say they didn't—based upon their 'obvious' OGT in OGC assumptions about reality. What had their many preceding sophists been doing previously, for over 10 millennia? Practicing many truths, practicing excellence, practicing sophism!

Now growing awareness of quantum reality's intrinsic sophism is awakening a few. Those few will relearn sophism. They will lead its return. We shall bury those dichonic dunces of dubitable dialectic. Doug 19Oct2000



"But, in doing so, it must be understood that the further it penetrates the depths of life, the more symbolic, the more relative to the contingencies of action, the knowledge it supplies to us becomes. On this new ground philosophy ought then to follow science, in order to superpose on scientific truth a knowledge of another kind, which may be called metaphysical. Thus combined, all our knowledge, both scientific and metaphysical, is heightened. In the absolute we live and move and have our being. The knowledge we possess of it is incomplete, no doubt, but not external or relative. It is reality itself, in the profoundest meaning of the word, that we reach by the combined and progressive development of science and of philosophy. [That is what we seek: a quanton(quantum_philosophy,quantum_science).]

"Thus , in renouncing the factitious unity [i.e., classical monism of one homogeneous monolith] which the understanding imposes on nature from outside, we shall perhaps find its true, inward and living unity [i.e., quantum cohesion of heterogeneous autonomies]. For the effort we make to transcend the pure understanding introduces us into that more vast something out of which our understanding is cut, and from which it has detached itself. And, as matter is determined by intelligence, as there is between them an evident agreement, we cannot make the genesis of the one without making the genesis of the other. An identical process must have cut out matter [particle] and the intellect [wave], at the same time, from a stuff that contained both [quantons]. Into this reality we shall get back more and more completely, in proportion as we compel ourselves to transcend pure intelligence."

(Our brackets and bold.)











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