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Matter and Memory

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,643 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
"Since the end of the last century," Walter Benjamin wrote, "philosophy has made a series of attempts to lay hold of the 'true' experience as opposed to the kind that manifests itself in the standardized, denatured life of the civilized masses. It is customary to classify these efforts under the heading of a philosophy of life. Towering above this literature is Henri Bergs ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1896)
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Oct 23, 2015 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read as part of my 2015 Modernists project.

"But Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality, has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time. An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one
Oct 24, 2013 Wil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
no one cares what I think
Apr 25, 2014 Yann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophie, france

Mnémosyne, la mère des Muses

Matière et Mémoire est un essai écrit par Henri Bergson un professeur de philosophie français de la troisième république. Il s'agit de trouver une explication vraisemblable à l'articulation entre le corps et l'esprit, dans l'hypothèse dualiste. Il écarte les visions monistes, qu'elles soient matérialistes ou idéalistes, comme celle de Berkeley ( Trois dialogues entre Hylas et Philonous, Principes de la connaissance humaine). Pour ce faire, il problématise une fonction
Dec 01, 2008 Sara-Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara-Maria by: william james
Shelves: time-history
William james, the most darling of men, wrote that bergson was "for me, a magician. Whereas, when I open most philosophical books, I get nothing but a sort of marking time, champing of the jaws, pawing the ground, and resettling into the same attitude like a weary horse in his stall, turning over the same few threadbare categories, applying the same solutions and the same objections, here on every page new horizons open. It is like the breath of the morning and the song of birds. And to me it te ...more
the gift
this is 3rd book i have read by the man himself, published first in 1896. i think it would be better as a study text rather than attempting to read it like any work of fiction...

because, of course, this is not fiction but philosophy. even in translation from french, this has some beautiful writing, and i can certainly see how it could be widely read, admired, worked on, and how it could have such affect on merleau-ponty. have not read it, but apparently deleuze wrote a book that started reapprai
нєνєℓ  ¢ανα
Excellent, lucid, insightful, thought-provoking, delightful... a great work by Henri Bergson!
Feb 16, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
like a ceiling fan loaded with cauliflower on meat hooks
Giorgio Majer
Jan 27, 2013 Giorgio Majer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books in my life.
Feb 28, 2016 Garron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Lee
Sep 30, 2015 Alex Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bergson takes the immanent image of a thing and centralizes it to perception and memory He calibrates thought and action around the image of memory -- both constructed from matter and an arrangement of matter (they are the same thing). This is a somewhat difficult book to read, but Bergson is successful in presenting his case. Most of the book is about realigning understanding so as to clear a space for this deep insight.

With this, human beings become understood as walking sheets of memory. We a
Aug 15, 2015 Gabriel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fascinating
Not the easiest book by Bergson, but one of the most fascinating. The 1. chapter about perception is extremly original, still discussed by philosophers and scientists. The 4. chapter broaches Bergson's contemporary Physic und transports us behind matery and mind, over the dualism Bergson's writings are steeped of elsewhere. The scientific material Bergson is using may be old - the relevant questions he asks, the streng way of his thought, his clear and fluent writing-style make the book a must r ...more
Good news is that this book is much more accessible than the impression that commentators give about it.

But I'm not sure how much of Bergson's model of perception and sensation remains valid in the light of the century of scientific research - and the profound changes in the way humans experience reality - following this work. That said, the idea that the body becomes a sort of hinge-point between memory and reality and that perception and memory form a tight feedback system unfolding over the
Nov 28, 2012 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading if you're into reevaluating how you view Time, Space, and Self.
Sep 25, 2008 Agross rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
this book is kinda boring. I may not finish it
Ralowe Ampu
Apr 11, 2012 Ralowe Ampu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i come away from this with an outline or notion that deleuze's desiring machines are connected to bergson's ideas of images and perception. our brains process objects in the world as multiple images in a fashion similar to how desiring machines proliferate. i used that to try to follow this, but i could be entirely wrong. i could believe that i was led to bergson through deleuze by kara keeling, who referenced bergson's idea of the senori-motor to talk about how films move us. i wonder if i shou ...more
Brian  Kubarycz
Dec 29, 2007 Brian Kubarycz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and imaginative attempt to resolve difficulties besetting modern psychology, in particular with regard to the apparent schism between anatomy and consciousness. Bergson's treatment of this problem entails an attempt to identify the common ground between realist and idealist approaches to matter and space, and subsequently elaborate the possibility of a third position from which to view these two phenomena, one which views space not in speculative terms (as an object we can know) bu ...more
Apr 13, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-prize
Now my brain hurts! I have to go and read something mindless. I believe that a person would have to have a rich background in philosophy and arguments of the time to get this one. Definitely not an easy one to read.
Aug 12, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I've been puttering around on this book all summer, haven't finished it yet, but will be teaching parts of it this fall. Kind of amazing to me how prescient it is, having been written in the 1890s, still relevant in light of conteporary neuroscience. I'm fascinated by the image of energetic transfer through the physical medium of the body, the sense of embodied thought as a continuation of movement rather than a registration surface. I love how this helps bread down the subject/object relationsh
Apr 11, 2016 Gareth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to be challenged on what and where you think memory is this is an excellent account of an alternative perspective. Whilst you might not agree with Bergson the exercise of following his thought will inevitably drive you to a deeper consideration of memory that acts as a great stimulus for forming your own opinion further.
Dec 02, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having taught this entire book last Fall (2014) in a class on memory, I decided to go back through it at a slower pace this year, writing a kind of commentary on each page. I find this an exemplary book and while a little long-winded is profoundly scientific, philosophical and artistic. Now if someone could write the layman's version of this...
Braden Scott
May 31, 2014 Braden Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Matter and Memory feels like a solemn heart to heart with Henri. A beautiful read x
Feb 05, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
According to Bergson, Realism and Idealism are both inaccurate representations of our world. The very act of perception is a constant feedback loop, and just as we reach out to change the world, in turn the world reaches out to change us. A ground-breaking work of philosophy.
Jul 27, 2011 Derek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: humans, aliens
i discuss it here:

"...this is not only an enlightening book i hope aliens will find after the fact but one that i hope all humans [interested in learning about ourselves in our world] will read"
Marye odom
Apr 30, 2010 Marye odom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't read the entire book, but definitely one I aim to finish. I've spent ten years trying to find one sentence in this book, that I know I read, that stopped me in my tracks for days.
Tara Renee Breitenbucher
Dec 28, 2007 Tara Renee Breitenbucher rated it it was amazing
Very difficult to understand without having read lots of other philosophy. Still, it was entirely interesting to me even though I had to struggle through it without the helpful background.
Aug 21, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, not as fluid as, 'Creative Evolution', say, but still full of poetic brilliance and subtle turns of phrase which consolidate his compelling logic.
Dec 19, 2008 Bonnie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
the opening lines enchant. looking forward to more. big influence on Giles Deleuze.
Allison C. McCulloch
Sep 23, 2012 Allison C. McCulloch is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pretentious photography students
Recommended to Allison by: Photography prof
When my teacher didn't show up, I took another class and this book was recommended.
Tida Wilson
I gave up. Not really in the mood to continue for the time being. Maybe another day.
Dec 08, 2008 eesenor rated it it was amazing
Bergson proposes a theory of Memory that reportedly influenced Proust.
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  • Bergsonism
  • After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency
  • Phenomenology of Perception
  • The Accursed Share 1: Consumption
  • Truth and Method
  • Process and Reality
  • Totality and Infinity:  An Essay on Exteriority
  • Aesthetic Theory
  • Time and Narrative, Volume 1
  • Being and Event
  • The Concept of Mind
Henri Bergson was one of the most famous and influential French philosophers of the late 19th century-early 20th century. Although his international fame reached cult-like heights during his lifetime, his influence decreased notably after the second World War. While such French thinkers as Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Lévinas explicitly acknowledged his influence on their thought, it is generally ag ...more
More about Henri Bergson...

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“The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.” 422 likes
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