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עמוד בית
Tue, 16.07.24

Perspective

IMAJ | volume

Journal 3, Mars 2002
pages: 163-165

From the Philosophy Auditorium to the Neurophysiology Laboratory and Back: From Bergson to Damasio

    Summary

    Henri Bergson (1859-1941) was probably the most influential French philosopher at the turn of the twentieth century. In 1927 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Far beyond the restricted academic philosophical milieu, the impact of his thinking reached personalities as diverse as Claude Debussy, Marcel Proust, George Bernard Shaw, and the impressionists.  His essay The Laughter (Le Rire) is one of the most profound and original ever written on the sense of humor. Bergson’s opinions, with their emphasis on life, instinct and intuition, represented a deviation from the rationalist mainstream of western philosophical tradition. In some circles he was received with skepticism and irony as in Bertrand Russel’s History of Western Philosophy. Today, unbiased by theoretical "bergsonism," neurophysiologic research - as undertaken mainly by Antonio Damasio’s team at Iowa University - confirms many of his hypotheses and elucidates their mechanisms. In this new light, intuition and “recognition by the body” should not be seen as the personal fantasy of an original thinker but as fundamental cognitive tools.

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