The Classical Biological Theory of Knowledge

  • Milič Čapek
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 7)


‘Anti-intellectualism’ is a label frequently applied to Bergson’s philosophical thought, but only rarely is the meaning of this term properly understood and fully clarified. It is generally not realized, or at least not sufficiently stressed, that his alleged anti–intellectualism is opposed only to a certain, though historically the most important and still the most dominant, form of human intellect; that is, to what he himself called the ‘logic of solid bodies’ and what, perhaps more appropriately, may be called the Newton–Euclidian form of intellect. This form, as Bergson stressed, is a result of a long evolutionary process the duration of which certainly transcends the duration of the human species. This duration itself is the ground for its practical justification and its approximate applicability to our ordinary daily experience; but when we are confronted with the new types of experience which do not fit the traditional patterns of thought, a new and fresh effort is required to create more flexible and more adequate forms of understanding. Although Bergson’s language is not always as specific as we would wish to have it, the meaning of his anti–intellectualism is unmistakably clear for an attentive and unprejudiced reader, especially as he becomes aware that it is an organic part of Bergson’s biological theory of knowledge. In my opinion no fruitful study of Bergson’s thought, and, in particular, no true understanding of his sometimes paradoxical philosophy of nature is possible without taking his biologically oriented epistemology into consideration.


Human Mind Modern Physic Euclidian Geometry Newtonian Mechanic Biological Theory 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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