Bergson (1889/1960) can assuredly be numbered among the fathers of phenomenology. Yet his principle, "Questions relating to subject and object, to their distinction and their union, must be put in terms of time rather than of space" (1896/1912, p. 77), has still to be grasped as applicable to both neuroscience and perception. Bergson had in fact constructed a theory anticipating holographic principles (Robbins, 2000; 2002), however his model of the time-motion of the universal field led him to use these principles in a radically different role than that envisioned in Pribram’s (1971, 1991; Yasue et al., 1991) neural-holographic models. Bergson insisted that the motion of the holographic field (Bohm, 1980) be treated as indivisible, a position echoed today in Feynman’s (1965) and Nottale’s (1996) treatment of motion as non-differentiable. This indivisibility, together with the field’s holographic properties, allowed him to posit an elementary perception defined over the field at the null scale of time. The hierarchical dynamics of the brain imposes a time scale on the field. Scale implies quality. Scale also implies extent. The mechanical essence of Bergson’s model was to conceive of the brain as a reconstructive wave within the holographic field, a wave specific to, a) a subset of the field relative to the body’s action, b) an indivisible time-extent of the past motion of the field, c) a subset of the elementary perception implicit in the field at a specific scale of time.
Bergson challenges cognitive neuroscience with a profoundly different view of the brain, a view in fact more consonant with modern physics (Gunter, 1969).
Keywords: Time, Perception, Qualia
Bergson, H. (1889/1960) Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of
Bergson, H. (1896/1912). Matter and Memory.
Bohm, D. (1980). Wholeness and the
Feynman, R. P. & Hibbs,
A. R. (1965).
Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals.
Gunter, P. A. Y. (1969). Bergson and the Evolution of Physics.
Nottale, L. (1996). Scale relativity and fractal space-time: applications to quantum physics, cosmology and chaotic systems. Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, 7, 877-938.
(1971). Languages of
Pribram, K. (1991). Brain and Perception.
Robbins, S. E. (2000). Bergson, perception and Gibson. Journal of Consciousness Studies. 7 (5), 23-45.
Robbins, S. E. (2001). Bergson’s virtual action. In A. Riegler, M.
Peschl, K. Edlinger, &
G. Fleck (Eds.), Virtual Reality:
Philosophical Issues, Cognitive Foundations, Technological Implications.
Robbins, S. E. (2002). Semantics, experience and time. Cognitive Systems Research, 3(3), 301-337.
Yasue, K., Jibu, M.,
& Pribram, K. H. (1991). A theory of non-local cortical processing in the
brain, in K. H. Pribram (ed.), Brain and Perception.