Bergson and Vitalism(s): An Online Workshop – April 29-30, 2021 | Ghent University – University Toulouse Jean Jaurès

This workshop aims to provide a 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 contribution to current debates in biology and the philosophy of biology.


Note 1: Register in advance for this webinar:

Note 2: All times below are UTC+2.

April 29th: Bergsonian vitalism and biology

2pm-3pm: Keynote by Mathilde Tahar, “Bergson’s vitalisms”

3.30pm-4.30pm: Bergson and theories of evolution (Moderator: Charles Wolfe)
• “Knife of Mind: Bergson’s Bio-Philosophy”, Benjamin Woodard.
• “Sewall Wright, leading geneticist, reader of Bergson, and almost Bergsonian”, Joel Dolbeault.

4.30pm-5.30pm: Actuality of Bergson (Moderator: Paul-Antoine Miquel)
• “The Automatic Divinity. Bergson and Entomology”, Gregorio Tenti.
• “Whispers of an Élan Vital in contemporary molecular evolutionary theory”, Majic Bergara Paco.

6pm-7pm: Keynote by Tano Posteraro, “Vitalism, Individuation, and an Image for Life: Bergson contra Driesch”


April 30th: Contexts and influences of Bergson’s vitalism

2pm-3pm: Keynote by Arnaud François, « A quoi reconnaît-on une philosophie de la vie? »

3pm-4pm: Bergson and spiritualism (Moderator: Gertrudis Van de Vijver)
• “Bergson and the Fringes of the Psyche: Psychical Research, Spiritualism, and Vitalism”, Ties van Gemert & Johan Eland.
• “Thinking Through a Counter-Culture: Vitalism and Catholicism”, Jack Hanson.

4.30am-5.30pm: New insights into Bergsonian vitalism (Moderator: Giuseppe Bianco)
• “Bergson, Driesch, Vitalism and the Politics of Culture in the Republic of China”, Daniel Stumm.
• “Bergson and vitalism: a reappraisal”, Bruno Rates.

5.30pm-6pm: Final words by Giuseppe Bianco


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