Negative Aspects of Bergson’s Epistemology — Its Relations to Bachelard, Bridgman and Empirio-Criticism

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


The negative aspect of Bergson’s epistemological method consists in a difficult and perpetually renewed effort to break certain intellectual habits, that is, certain associations of ideas which, by the effect of familiarity and repetition, appear solid and unbreakable. They appear so solid that the rationalists endowed them with the status of a priori principles constituting the immutable or, as Kant called it, “transcendental” structure of the human mind which no future experience can ever challenge. In truth this alleged transcendental structure is nothing but what Gaston Bachelard called “geometrical subconscious” or, in the terms strongly reminiscent of Bergson’s language, “the Euclidian infrastructure which is formed in a mind subject to experience of solid bodies both natural and manufactured”.1 It is extremely difficult to keep in check our Euclidian kinetic-corpuscular subconscious which is the depositary of our daily individual, as well as ancestral, experience. This is why, as the late Professor Bridgman observed not without humour, longing for mechanical explanation has “all the tenacity of original sin” and “just as the old monks struggled to subdue the flesh, so must the physicist struggle to subdue this sometimes nearly irresistible, but perfectly unjustifiable desire”.2


Human Mind Modern Physic Biological Theory Late Professor Intellectual Effort 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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