Call for Abstracts: Bergson and Vitalism(s): An Online Workshop – April 29-30, 2021 | University of Ghent

Workshop Organizers: Emily Herring (University of Ghent) and Mathilde Tahar (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)

In his 1907 bestseller Creative Evolution, the French philosopher Henri Bergson, weighed in on one of the burning issues of the day: biological evolution. He used an “image”, the élan vital (vital impetus) to describe the unpredictability, unity and branching nature of the history of life. The book earned Bergson international fame but also cemented the association between his name and a controversial label with a complex history: vitalism. In the words of philosophers Daniel Nicholson and Richard Gawne, nowadays, “to publicly accuse someone of harbouring vitalist views amounts to condemning them to the scorching fires of scientific hell”. This partially explains why current (in particular anglophone) historians and philosophers often ignore or disregard Bergson’s contribution to the history and philosophy of biology. As a result, the importance of Bergson’s philosophy of life in such areas has, until now, mostly been underplayed.                                                                                            

This workshop aims to provide a much-needed reassessment of the relationship between Bergson’s philosophy of life and vitalism by combining perspectives from historians of philosophy, historians of science, and philosophers. Such a reassessment is needed to gain better understanding of Bergson’s role in the history and philosophy of biology as well as provide a reappraisal of Bergson’s important contribution to current debates in biology and philosophy of biology.

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Rappel: Program for the 2020 Global Bergsonism Research Project Webinar November 6-7, and 13

Note 1: Participation in the Webinar is by invitation only. In order to receive the invitation for the Webinar, please email Leonard Lawlor, lul19@psu.edu, or Ted Bergsma, tzb5226@psu.edu.

Note 2: All times below are Eastern Standard Time (EST) for the USA and Canada.


Friday, November 6

Welcome comments 8:45 am


Session 1

Keynote

9:00-11:00am

Moderator: Leonard Lawlor, Penn State University, USA

“History of life and vital dilemmas : a global and Bergsonian discussion between Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago and Frédéric Worms, École Normale Supérieure, Rue d’Ulm, France”

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Bergson Bibliography: Call for contributions

 

As part of the Global Bergsonism project, the Société des Amis de Bergson is launching a completely new Henri Bergson bibliography using the online Zotero platform.

The most recent complete Bergsonian bibliography, edited by Pete Gunter, dates from 1986. It is urgent that a new bibliography be made available to researchers, updated in two directions: firstly to integrate certain linguistic and cultural areas that are only partially represented by Gunter’s bibliography, (2) and also to present the last 34 years of research, which have been among the most productive for Bergsonian researchers around the world, as well as for the edition of Bergson’s manuscripts, correspondence and courses. The new Bergson Bibliography will be the most comprehensive and accessible directory of Bergson studies. It will be a widely distributed, multilingual bibliography, based on the open source software Zotero, available online without a license. 

The platform allows scholars to add and download bibliographical references and is completely public. The current version may be accessed here

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Program for the 2020 Global Bergsonism Research Project Webinar November 6-7, and 13

Note 1: Participation in the Webinar is by invitation only. In order to receive the invitation for the Webinar, please email Leonard Lawlor, lul19@psu.edu, or Ted Bergsma, tzb5226@psu.edu.

Note 2: All times below are Eastern Standard Time (EST) for the USA and Canada

 

Program

Friday, November 6

Welcome comments 8:45 am

Session 1

Keynote

9:00-11:00 am

Moderator: Leonard Lawlor, Penn State University, USA

Frédéric Worms, École normale supérieure, rue d’Ulm, France, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago: “Global Bergsonism”

 

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Publication: Ensaio Sobre Os Dados Imediatos Da Consciência, Traduction par Maria Adriana Camargo Cappello, préface de Débora Cristina Morato Pinto

Débora Cristina Morato Pinto, Departamento de Filosofia – Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Paulo, Brésil.

Maria Adriana Camargo Cappello, Departamento de Filosofia – Universidade Federal do Paraná, Paraná, Brésil

Nous sommes heureuses de vous présenter la première édition critique d’un livre de Bergson préparée et publiée au Brésil. C’est également la première traduction brésilienne de L’Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, l’ouvrage inaugural du philosophe dont les réflexions ont trouvé un écho tout au long du XXe siècle. Ses analyses sur la durée, l’intensité et la liberté sont continuellement redimensionnées par des discussions contemporaines autour de la psychologie et de la psychanalyse, des neurosciences, de la biologie et de la physique, de l’éthique et de la politique. La traduction commentée dans les notes explicatives vise donc à ouvrir la voie à une lecture attentive et croisée des questions pertinentes.

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Book Review: Penser l’évolution Nietzsche, Bergson, Dewey (Thinking Evolution. Nietzsche, Bergson, Dewey), Antoine Daratos and Paul Walter (eds), 2020

Bruno Rates, University of São Paulo-USP, Brazil / Société des Amis de Bergson

Penser l’Évolution. Nietzsche, Bergson, Dewey (Thinking Evolution. Nietzsche, Bergson, Dewey), released in December 2019 by the prestigious publisher Vrin, is one of the latest contributions in French about the impact of evolutionism on philosophy. In addition to the extensive bibliography on the subject, the book, coordinated by Antoine Daratos and Paul Walter (both from Université Libre de Bruxelles), consists of nine articles and is divided into three sections, each dedicated to the thinkers present in the title. A short introduction is also offered to the readers, operating as a guide that aims, in addition to presenting the chapters, to demonstrate the novelty and pertinence in putting together names as distinct as Nietzsche, Bergson and Dewey vis-à-vis the multiple issues raised by evolutionism. According to Daratos and Walter, “the three authors, far from limiting themselves with importing the results of biology to philosophy, consider the question of evolution as a major strategic challenge for philosophy, as a trampoline that allows them to rethink both the object of philosophy as well as its concepts and methods” (p.9). It is from this thesis that we move to a bigger problem, since, from a broader point of view, the book intends to participate in the debate about the relation between philosophy and science, that, at the passage from the 19th to the 20th century, oscillates more or less between two poles (and what follows is on my behalf): philosophy as a rational justification or appendix of science (from philosophia ancilla theologiae to philosophia ancilla scientiae), or as an irreducible domain (whether ontological, metaphysical, logical, axiological, « experienced/lived », etc.) immune to the discoveries that come from positive data. Recognizing the essential condition of the hypothesis of the evolution of life, Nietzsche, Bergson and Dewey, each in their own way, overcame such an oscillation by showing that it is “possible for philosophy to fully consider the results of the positive sciences while preserving its independence and speculative character” (p. 9). In this review, I will first describe the nine articles of the book and then concentrate on an overall critical analysis. It goes without saying that, despite my critiques, the book represents an important contribution to the topic it aims to explore.

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Book Review: Bergson’dan Mustafa Şekip’e Gülme (Laughing from Bergson to Mustafa Şekip), Aktif Düşünce Yayınları, 2015

Gözde Han, Yıldız Technical University

Laughing from Bergson to Mustafa Şekip is a book which mainly analyses Mustafa Şekip Tunç’s adaptation and translation of Henry Bergson’s Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (Le Rire; essai sur la signification du comique). The authors of the book, Levent Bayraktar and Zeynep Tek, centre their arguments around the translation and adaptation of Bergson’s book by Mustafa Şekip. They analyse the era, the period and the meaning of laughter by integrating articles from Mustafa Şekip Tunç, introductions written by Mehmet Emin Erişirgil and Abdülhak Şinasi Hisar, to Tunç’s “What is Laughing? At Whom are We Laughing?” Bayraktar and Tek mainly clarify the place of Bergsonian thought within the act of laughing in parallel with Mustafa Şekip Tunç’s translation/ adaptation of Bergson’s “Le rire”. Continuer la lecture

Book Review: Interpreting Bergson : Critical Essays, Alexandre Lefebvre et Nils F. Schott (eds.), 2019

Mathilde Tahar, Université Toulouse II, Jean Jaurès

Depuis vingt ans, on observe un regain des études bergsoniennes, venant d’une part de la publication de l’édition critique, d’autre part de l’apparition de nouvelles approches interprétatives, notamment dans le monde anglo-saxon. Ces nouvelles approches partent pour la plupart de l’idée de durée comme efficace du passé dans le présent et émergence de nouveauté, idée proprement bergsonienne, pour en analyser les conséquences dans différents domaines philosophiques. Dans Interpreting Bergson : Critical essays, les éditeurs Alexandre Lefebvre et Nils F. Schott, en rassemblant les analyses critiques de différents auteurs sur des aspects très hétérogènes de la philosophie bergsonienne visent à donner un aperçu de ces nouvelles recherches et, par là aussi, une vue d’ensemble de l’œuvre de Bergson. 

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Bergson au Collège de France (exposition virtuelle)

Cette exposition reprend les pièces présentées au Collège de France à l’occasion de la journée de rencontre du 29 novembre 2019, dont vous pouvez retrouver ici le compte rendu, ainsi que le programme des interventions. Il est également consultable sur Colligere à l’initiative de cette collaboration. Nous tenons à remercier particulièrement Christophe Labaune pour son magnifique travail. 

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Book Review: Mark Sinclair, Bergson, 2019

Miguel Paley, New School for Social Research, New York City

After a long period of relative obscurity, Bergson’s thought and philosophy have once again piqued the interest of the academic community. The current ‘boom’ in Bergson studies has been particularly dramatic in the English-speaking world, where a number of works treating varied aspects of Bergson’s thought have recently been published. In the past few years alone, we’ve seen the publication of Keith Ansell Pearson’s Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition, a translation of Jankelevich’s classic Henri Bergson, Jimena Canales’ study of Bergson’s engagement with Einstein: The Physicist and the Philosopher, as well various collected volumes such as Beyond Bergson (ed by Andrea Pitts and Mark W. Westmoreland) which treats the relations between Bergson’s thought, colonialism, and race. The most recent contribution to this Bergsonian renaissance is Mark Sinclair’s Bergson.

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Séminaire Bergson: « Bergson et le désir manqué. Le renouvèlement du débat avec la phénoménologie » avec Débora Morato Pinto – Février 2020 – Paris ENS

Notre but dans ce séminaire est de mettre en évidence une dimension essentielle de la philosophie de Bergson, ainsi que d’en explorer sa fertilité: l’affirmation de la relation intrinsèque entre corps propre (ou subjectif), son indétermination et la vie. Penser une telle relation, dépend de la nouvelle conception du mouvement que sa métaphysique développe. Elle fonde aussi la possibilité de penser la création de manière concrète, en insérant la philosophie bergsonienne dans un domaine thématique que nous cherchons à délimiter.

Séance 1 : mardi 4 février, 16h-18h, salle Pasteur (pavillon Pasteur, 1er étage)

Séance 2 : jeudi 6 février, 16h-18h, salle Pasteur (pavillon Pasteur, 1er étage)

Séance 3 : mercredi 26 février, 16h-18h, salle Cavaillès (1er étage)

Séance 4 : jeudi 27 février, 16h-18h, salle Celan (rez-de-chaussée)

Plus d’informations

Call for papers : First Annual Meeting of the Global Bergsonism Research Project

First Annual Meeting of the

Global Bergsonism Research Project

November 6-7, 2020

Penn State University

Nittany Lion Inn

University Park, PA, USA

Henri Bergson’s writings and the ‘Bergsonian’ approach, especially questions of time, human freedom, evolution, memory, and society dramatically transformed the intellectual landscape of the 20th century. Thus, Bergsonism as an intellectual, philosophical orientation reached well beyond France and Europe. The research project is about the comprehension and theoretization of this reality. Numerous works were written in many geographical centers on the reception, perception, interpretation, and the reproduction of Bergsonian ideas, but still several questions need to be answered in this process: What is implied by the global nature of Bergsonism and what did the twentieth century intellectuals find in Bergson that was so pertinent to the intellectual, political, and social issues that they experienced?  To what issues did it respond outside of the Western milieu? Who was interested in Bergsonian approaches and for what reasons? Why did certain type of authors harshly react to Bergson? In which creative ways did World Bergsonians see something of their own traditions and solutions to problems of global modernity? Exploring Bergsonism as an example of the globalization of philosophical modernism through these questions will allow us to obtain a clearer understanding of its transformations in particular historical contexts in more detail and across cases. Analyses of Bergson need to be discussed not only by texts written in local languages but also via the social and scholarly context of that specific area.

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International Workshop: Physical Time, Biological Time: Bergsonism Today – Toulouse, October 24-25, 2019 – Report by Mathilde Tahar and Alexis Boisseau

Bien qu’il n’y ait pas eu à proprement parler de « néo-bergsonisme » en France, probablement du fait de la singularité de la philosophie de Bergson, la recherche bergsonienne a connu un renouveau ces dernières décennies, et semble même avoir quelque écho dans les sciences naturelles. Si on ne peut pas parler d’un retour « du bergsonisme », il y a indéniablement une actualité des problèmes bergsoniens, aussi bien en science physique qu’en biologie. C’est dans ce contexte intellectuel qu’a eu lieu les 24 et 25 octobre 2019 une série d’interventions et de discussions autour du temps, temps physique et temps biologique. L’objectif de ces journées, organisées par Paul-Antoine Miquel, (département de Philosophie de l’Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès), et par Elie During (département de Philosophie de l’Université de Nanterre), était de tenter de suivre des « lignes de faits », à la croisée de l’enquête philosophique et des sciences de la nature. Les intervenants, venus d’universités françaises, anglaises ou japonaises, étaient ainsi invités à parler des reconfigurations de l’espace-temps dans la physique contemporaine, de la différence entre temps de la physique et temps de la biologie,  de l’actualité paradoxale de la notion d‘élan vital pour penser la vie au-delà de l’organisme, enfin de la possibilité d’une philosophie qui travaille sur les sciences sans se faire pour cela philosophie des sciences.

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