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Deleuze's Bergsonism

Lecturer: Craig Lundy

Originally Taught: Summer School 2014

Henri Bergson is often and rightly considered to be one of the most influential thinkers on Deleuze. Not only do key Deleuzian concepts such as the virtual/actual and multiplicity find their genesis in Deleuze’s reading of Bergson, but it would furthermore be accurate to describe the broader character of Deleuze’s philosophy as Bergsonian in many respects. In this lecture course we will see precisely how. Along with explicating Deleuze’s Bergson through a close reading of his monograph Bergsonism, this course will explore throughout the manner in which Deleuze’s Bergsonian philosophy plays itself out in his latter texts – such as the collaborations with Félix Guattari and the cinema books. Readings from Bergson’s corpus will also be set, so that critical comparisons between the original and Deleuze’s appropriation can be made where relevant.

Course Schedule:

Lecture 1: Introduction – Bergson in his times and Deleuze’s untimely revival

Lecture 2: Problematic Philosophy and the Method of Intuition

Lecture 3: Duration I: The Two Multiplicities, Memory and Virtual Coexistence

Lecture 4: Duration II: Dualism, Monism and Pluralism

Lecture 5: Élan Vital and the Movement of Differentiation

Recommended reading:

Lectures will roughly follow the trajectory of Deleuze’s Bergsonism, making this text essential reading. It is also recommended that participants read as much of the following, in the following order:

  • Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism.
  • Gilles Deleuze, “Bergson, 1859-1941”, in Desert Islands.
  • Gilles Deleuze, “Bergson’s Conception of Difference”, in Desert Islands.
  • Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind (especially the two introductions).
  • Henri Bergson, Time and Free Will.
  • Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory.
  • Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution.

Level of difficulty: Introductory/Intermediate. There will be no prior knowledge assumed of Deleuze or Bergson.