Call for Papers: Brazil Meeting of the Global Bergsonism Research Project (an online webinar) – 18, 24 and 25 of November, 2022

Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar)
University of São Paulo (USP)
Federal University of Paraná (UFPR)
UMR 8547 Pays germaniques – Transferts culturels (CNRS/Ens)

Ernesto Neto, We Fishing the Time, 2001

Based on the pioneering work of Bento Prado Júnior and Franklin Leopoldo e Silva, Bergsonian studies have developed significantly in Brazil over the last 20 years. This includes a thematic diversity that allows a rich dialogue with other scholars around the world. Our participation in the CNRS International Research Network “A Chapter in a Global History of Philosophy : New Perspectives on Bergsonism” intends to expand this exchange even further and, thus, the research horizon around Bergson’s philosophy. The openness of his thought, related to the fundamental idea of the continuous transformation of time, leads us to strengthen our ties while looking forward to new interlocutors, especially from Latin America, beyond the consolidated connection with France.

This Webseminar will be an occasion to discuss the potentialities of Bergon’s work, explored in an original way through the diversity of schools and academic backgrounds of all continents. We hope to encourage and foster discussions in a concrete practice of “ouverture” – mental, cultural and social – renewing questions and problematizations around three themes:

Spirit and life: life has been a constant object of investigation of bergsonian studies. Present throughout all of Bergson’s works, it can be approached from many perspectives, reaching domains as diverse as science, philosophy and ethics. In this panel, we intend to explore not only the biological sources that informed Bergson’s opinion on the topic, but also the more “spiritualist” or even “idealist” roots of it. If neo-lamarckism, Darwin, August Weismann, Claude Bernard, and many others scientists are his most obvious interlocutors, Paul Janet, Félix Ravaisson, Alfred Fouillée, André Lalande and others philosophers (not only in France, but also in the UK and Germany, to stay with two philosophical traditions) were also dedicating a great space of their theoretical projects to think the idea of life in a different fashion, a fact that was far from being unnoticed by Bergson. What is the importance of these different groups of intellectuals to Bergson’s concept of life? Did Bergson try, among other things, to combine those two sources to think his own notion of life? Is it possible to notice, depending on the book and period of Bergson’s oeuvre, a prevalence of the “idealist” tradition over the “scientific”, or vice-versa? And what does this state of affairs tell us about the relation between the biological, ethical, philosophical and existential dimensions of life, not only in Bergson’s thought, but also regarding the context in which life was being theorized at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, that is, in relation to the various forms of “philosophies of life”? These are some questions that we hope to address in this panel.  

Bergson and the history of philosophy: considering that the importance of Bergsonism for the 20th and early 21st centuries comes directly from the modulation and broadening of rationality that he proposed through the notions of duration, intuition, tension, memory, evolution, emotion, among others, there is still much to be explored by the confrontation with the so-called “traditional” philosophy. In other words, if the new problems raised by Bergson are a direct consequence of a critical approach to the history of philosophy, we consider that this connection between the present and the past has much to gain from analyzing the relations between Bergson and the philosophers of Antiquity, Medieval and Modern Age, like Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Descartes, Augustine, Duns Scotus, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, among others.

Bergson and contemporary philosophy: beyond studies on the importance of Bergsonism in French phenomenology and Deleuzian philosophy – since Bergson influences the two directions of French philosophy outlined by Foucault in the famous Preface to the American edition of Canguilhem’s The Normal and the Pathological –, we believe that there are still unexplored dialogues with contemporary philosophers that go beyond the geographical and thematic limits commonly associated with Bergson. As examples and in addition to French phenomenologists, Deleuze and Canguilhem, we can cite Heidegger and Whitehead, and we hope to discover other authors who can engage with Bergsonism in a current and promising debate.


Keynote Speakers:

Leonard Lawlor – Penn State University, USA

Mark Sinclair – University of Roehampton, London, UK

Camille Riquier – Institut Catholique de Paris, France 

Organization Committee :

Débora Morato Pinto – UFSCar

Maria Adriana Cappello – UFPr

Bruno Rates – USP

Caterina Zanfi – CNRS/Ens

The project welcomes submissions (abstracts of 300-500 words, or complete original papers in English or in French) on the topics mentioned above.

Please send submissions electronically to Débora Morato, Federal University of São Carlos,; adding “GBP2022” to the subject of your message.

Deadline for submission is June 30, 2022


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