The Logic of Solid Bodies from Plato to Quine

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


In the last chapter of Creative Evolution Bergson tried to trace the persistent influence of “the logic of solid bodies” through the whole history of Western thought. His analysis is entitled “The Cinematographical Mechanism of Thought and the Mechanistic Illusion”. It begins with the Eleatic school which identified Being with a solid immutable sphere, and ends with Herbert Spencer who, without trying to eliminate becoming altogether, still insisted on its subordination to Being when he tried to deduce “the law of evolution” from the conservation laws of energy and matter. It would be otiose to restate here Bergson’s excellent and documented analysis. It is true that this analysis could be extended greatly in the sense that the persistent tendency to get rid of time and change could be illustrated by a far greater number of examples than those given by Bergson. For instance, Bergson omitted an analysis of ancient atomism which, because of its Eleatic roots and its tendency to admit change only in its most ‘innocuous’ form as a mere displacement of the eternally immutable bits of matter, would have provided him with the most graphic illustration of the “logic of solid bodies”. Bergson also completely disregarded the medieval thought, which in its fascination with the static and timeless “Ens realissimum” clearly exhibited the persistent Eleatism of the human intellect.1


Solid Body Biological Theory Creative Evolution Human Intellect Persistent Tendency 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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