Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness

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Overview

Bergson argues for free will by showing that the arguments against it come from a confusion of different conceptions of time. As opposed to physicists' idea of measurable time, in human experience life is perceived as a continuous and unmeasurable flow rather than as a succession of marked-off states of consciousness--something that can be measured not quantitatively, but only qualitatively. His conclusion is that free will is an observable fact.
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Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness

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Overview

Bergson argues for free will by showing that the arguments against it come from a confusion of different conceptions of time. As opposed to physicists' idea of measurable time, in human experience life is perceived as a continuous and unmeasurable flow rather than as a succession of marked-off states of consciousness--something that can be measured not quantitatively, but only qualitatively. His conclusion is that free will is an observable fact.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486417677
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 6/7/2001
  • Pages: 262
  • Sales rank: 1,387,857
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I
  THE INTENSITY OF PSYCHIC STATES
    Quantitative differences applicable to magnitudes but not to intensities
    Attempt to estimate intensities by objective causes or atomic movements
    Different kinds of intensities
    "Deep-seated psychic states : desire, hope, joy and sorrow"
    "Aesthetic feelings: grace, beauty, music, poetry, art"
    "Moral feelings, pity"
    "Conscious states involving physical symptoms: muscular effort, attention and muscular tension"
    "Violent emotions: rage, fear"
    "Affective sensations: pleasure and pain, disgust"
    "Representative sensations: and external causes, sensation of sound, intensity, pitch and muscular effort, sensations of heat and cold, sensations of pressure and weight, sensation of light, photometric experiments"
    Delbœuf's experiments
    "Psychophysics: Weber and Fechner, Delbœuf, the mistake of regarding sensations as magnitudes"
    "Intensity in (I) representative, (2) affective states, intensity and multiplicity"
CHAPTER II
  THE MULTIPLICITY OF CONSCIOUS STATES
    THE IDEA OF DURATION
      "Number and its units, number and accompanying intuition of space"
      "Two kinds of multiplicity of material objects and conscious states, impenetrability of matter, homogeneous time and pure duration"
      "Space and its contents, empirical theories of space, intuition of empty homogeneous medium peculiar to man, time as homogenous medium peculiar to man, time as homogeneous medium reducible to space"
      "Duration, succession and space, pure duration"
      Is duration measurable?
      Is motion measurable?
      Paradox of the Eleatics
      Duration and simultaneity
      Velocity and simultaneity
      "Space alone homogenous, duration and succession belong to conscious mind"
      "Two kinds of multiplicity, qualitative and quantitative, superficial psychic states invested with discontinuity of their external causes, these eliminated, real duration is felt as a quality"
      ###############################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################
      Problems soluble only by recourse to the concrete and living self
CHAPTER III
  THE ORANIZATION OF CONSCIOUS STATES
    FREE WILL
      Dynamism and mechanism
      Two kinds of determinism
      ###############################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################
      "Psychological determinism: implies associationist conception of mind, this involves defective conception of self"
      The free act: freedom as expressing the fundamental self
      "Real duration and contingency: could our act have been different ?, geometrical representation of process of coming to a decision, the fallacies to which it leads determinists and libertarians"
      ###############################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################
      ###############################################################################################################################################################################################################################################################
      Freedom real but indefinalbe
CONCLUSION
  States of self perceived through forms borrowed from external world
  Intensity as quality
  Duration as qualitative multiplicity
  No duration in the external world
  Extensity and duration must be separated
  Only the fundamental self free
  "Kant's mistaken idea of time as homogeneous, hence he put the self which is free outside both space and time"
  "Duration is heterogeneous, relation of psychic state to act is unique, and act is free"
INDEX
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