Henri Bergson and Intuitionism, Bergson Intuitionism

Henri Bergson and Intuitionism, Bergson Intuitionism

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Bergson tried to make up for the inadequacy of understanding power in grasping the truth with another ability in his own order of thought. This faculty, which he calls “intuition”, is related to the inner universe of the person by its nature. Intuition-intuitus means to see the sincere, what is in the essence.

The chief characteristic of the man who made tools (homo faber) was that he was endowed with an understanding. The most important feature of the knower (homo sapiens) is that he has the ability called intuition. Understanding is extroverted, intuition is inward. There is the possibility of knowing “duration”, which the understanding cannot grasp, by intuition. Intuition, a faculty of “homo sapiens”, is not under the control of material life. Intuition is something that moves along the object towards which a person is directed, is in a constant flow, is alive, and has the quality of a process. The most important achievement of intuition is its comprehension of time. Knowing the truth depends on the power of intuition. It is not easy for intuition to emerge as a faculty. It requires an effort in the person to return to his inner universe, to enter the field of Being of his own “basic self”. This effort is an attempt to counter the flow of natural tendencies. This initiative is a powerful act of introversion.

Intuition is related to the theory of knowledge, it is the main source for the acquisition of knowledge. The most important area in which the intuitive method is applied in Bergson’s philosophy is where the problem of knowledge arises. According to him, epistemology falls within the domain of psychology to a certain extent. In this environment, the concept of memory is encountered.

Bergson divided memory into two in terms of its structure and quality, and its function. The first is based on a body-dependent, self-sustaining function consisting of continuous repetitions, the second is related to the images of memories, “mere memory”. From any angle, it is impossible to separate the faculty that provides knowledge from life. It is necessary to see “pure memory” in this connection with life, the connection with life shows that there is a sincere relationship between “theory of life” and “theory of knowledge”.

The source of “intuition”, which is the only valid principle in acquiring knowledge, is life. For this reason, the intuition-knowledge connection draws the person into life. However, epistemology should also consider the understanding in its general development. Otherwise, “an epistemology that does not want to see the understanding in its general development can teach us neither the form of establishment of knowledge blocks, nor the way in which we can expand and transcend them.” The task of the understanding is to create life rather than to describe it. Life cannot progress according to the principles of logic, sometimes it stumbles and goes astray.

On the other hand, the life impulse (elan vital), which has a universal quality, goes in its own direction and develops by being divided into different parts. It is the work of intuition to know the principle that provides the unity of existence between the theory of knowledge and the theory of life. The strength and depth of intuition is proportional to its grasp of this connection.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook