Kebede, M. 2019. Bergson’s Philosophy of Self-Overcoming Thinking without Negativity or Time as Striving. Palgrave
This book proposes a new reading of Bergsonism based on the admission that time, conceived as duration, stretches instead of passes. This swelling time is full and so excludes the negative. Yet, swelling requires some resistance, but such that it is more of a stimulant than a contrariety. The notion of élan vital fulfills this requirement: it states the immanence of life to matter, thereby deriving the swelling from an internal effort and allowing its conceptualization as self-overcoming. With self-overcoming as the inner dynamics of reality, Bergson dismisses all forms of dualism and reductionist monism because both the absence of negativity and the swelling nature of time posit a creative process yielding a qualitatively diverse world. This graded oneness is how the lower level activates intensification by turning into limitation, making possible higher levels of achievement, in particular through the union of mind and body and the integration of openness and closed sociability.
Messay Kebede is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton, Ohio. He has published five books and various articles dealing with African philosophy, philosophical issues of modernization, Ethiopia’s experience with social radicalism, and the philosophy of Bergson.