The Irreversibility of Duration: The Comments of Royce and Ingarden

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


The correlation between the immortality of the past and the irreversibility of duration was pointed out by Bergson in one of the initial paragraphs of Creative Evolution: From this survival of the past it follows that consciousness cannot go through the same state twice. The circumstances may still be the same, but they will act no longer on the same person, since they find him at a new moment of his history. Our personality, which is being built up each instant with its accumulated experience, changes without ceasing. By changing, it prevents any state, although superficially identical with another, from ever repeating it in its very depth. That is why our duration is irreversible. We could not live over again a single moment, for we should have to begin by effacing the memory of all that had followed. Even could we erase this memory from our intellect, we could not from our will.1


Total Preservation Single Moment Creative Evolution Reidel Publishing Company Eternal Return 
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  1. 3.
    J. Royce, ‘The Reality of the Temporal’, International Journal of Ethics XX (1910) 263–264. Concerning the relations between Royce and Bergson cf. my article ‘Time and Eternity in Royce and Bergson’, Revue Internationale de Philosophie No. 79-80 (1967), 22–45.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Cf. M. Capek, ‘Eternal Return’, in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Macmillan, 1967, III, pp. 61–63Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Roman Ingarden, ‘Intuition und Intellekt bei Henri Bergson’, in Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phanomenologische Forschung V (1921), esp. 398–461.Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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