Time, Life and Memory: Bergson and Neuroscience
Cham : Springer International Publishing
Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy ; 38
InLandeweerd, L. (ed.), Time, Life & Memory: Bergson and Contemporary Science, pp. 91-119
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Philosophy and Science Studies
Landeweerd, L. (ed.), Time, Life & Memory: Bergson and Contemporary Science
SubjectPhilosophy and Science Studies
An important epistemological convention for scientific research is to make a strict separation between subject and object, between the scientist and that which this scientist observes and experiments upon. This convention becomes problematic, however, when the object of scientific study is the human subject. The conventions within which subject and object are defined come under pressure as soon as the focus of attention shifts towards the study of human consciousness itself. After all, what appears within the scope of our experience is something different that our possibility for experience itself – at least, in most commonly established ontological positions. A key aspect of Bergson’s philosophy is what he refers to as immediate data of consciousness. That which is given in an immediate sense is more basic than either the world of phenomena6 (that which appears to us) or the world of the noumena (that which exists in itself, outside of our experience), but it is even more basic than the subject of knowledge itself (the us to which everything appears). The human mind may capture the intricate mechanism of how a seed grows. Subsequently, the way in which this process is perceived may be studied by studying how the brain registers the shape, scent, colour, etc. of plants. The human soul may be enriched by this experience and the human heart may be touched by the beauty of life, etc., but all these processes presuppose something more primary: the immediacy of experience as such.
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