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Living Consciousness
The Metaphysical Vision of Henri Bergson
Living Consciousness
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G. William Barnard - Author
SUNY series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology
Price: $85.00 
Hardcover - 380 pages
Release Date: December 2011
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3957-0

Quantity:  
Price: $29.95 
Paperback - 380 pages
Release Date: April 2012
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3958-7

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2012 Godbey Authors' Awards, presented by the Godbey Lecture Series in Southern Methodist University's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Explores the thought of Henri Bergson, highlighting his compelling theories on the nature of consciousness and its relationship to the physical world.

Living Consciousness examines the brilliant, but now largely ignored, insights of French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859–1941). Presenting a detailed and accessible analysis of Bergson’s thought, G. William Barnard highlights how Bergson’s understanding of the nature of consciousness and, in particular, its relationship to the physical world remain strikingly relevant to numerous contemporary fields. These range from quantum physics and process thought to philosophy of mind, depth psychology, transpersonal theory, and religious studies. Bergson’s notion of consciousness as a ceaselessly dynamic, inherently temporal substance of reality itself provides a vision that can function as a persuasive alternative to mechanistic and reductionistic understandings of consciousness and reality. Throughout the work, Barnard offers “ruminations” or neo-Bergsonian responses to a series of vitally important questions such as: What does it mean to live consciously, authentically, and attuned to our inner depths? Is there a philosophically sophisticated way to claim that the survival of consciousness after physical death is not only possible but likely?

“…Barnard has given us a highly readable tour of Henri Bergson’s (1859–1941) thought on consciousness, using it as a pivot point to unfold other major dimensions of his work as well. The book is a welcome addition to the sparse literature on Bergson’s heritage presently available to a broad English-speaking readership.” — Journal of Consciousness Studies

“…Barnard offers an interesting and relatively accessible foray into Bergson’s works.” — CHOICE

G. William Barnard is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of Exploring Unseen Worlds: William James and the Philosophy of Mysticism, also published by SUNY Press, and coeditor (with Jeffrey J. Kripal) of Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism.


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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABBREVIATIONS
A BRIEF BIO-HISTORICAL PREAMBLE
INTRODUCTION

Section One: Exploration of Consciousness, Authenticity, Time, and Freedom

1. THE NATURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Questioning and Experiencing Consciousness
Enduring Durée
Struggling with Immediacy
Carving Up the World
An “Object”-tive Understanding of Ourselves
Language and Durée
The Paradox of Durée

2. AUTHENTICITY
The Superficial Self and the Deep Self
Rumination: Authentic Selfhood

3. TIME

Durée as Time
Rumination: Consciousness as Time

4. QUANTITY AND QUALITY

Do Our Feelings Measure Up?

5. DETERMINISM

Physical Determinism
A Historical Interlude: Predeterminism
Psychological Determinism

6. ALTERNATIVE UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE SELF

Associationist Ideas of the Self
A Substantially Flowing Self

7. FREEDOM

Durée: Ever-New
Arguing for Free Will
Freedom: An Immediate Fact
A Little Hard-Core Common Sense
Degrees of Freedom

Liminal Section: The Dynamism of Matter

8. THE WORLD “OUT THERE”

Playing with the Space In-Between
Splitting Up the World

9. MOVEMENT

Motion as a Whole
Moving from One Point to Another
Catching Up with Zeno

10. AN ATOMISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY

Unchanging Atoms or Universal Flux?
Mini-Rumination: Porous Bodies

11. GOING BEYOND CLASSICAL PHYSICS

Beyond Mechanism
Contra Atomism
Bergson Said It First

12. MELODIES OF THE SELF AND THE WORLD

Matter as Melody
A Flowing Identity
Rumination: The “Both/And” Perspective of Bergson

Section Two: The Matter of Consciousness and the Consciousness of Matter

13. CONTEMPORARY UNDERSTANDINGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Remembering Matter and Memory
Becoming Conscious of Consciousness
Theories of Consciousness: Dualism
Theories of Consciousness: Epiphenomenalism
Theories of Consciousness: Materialism
A Problem for Materialism: The Unity of Consciousness
An Evolutionary Problem: When Did Consciousness Arise?
Contemporary Theorists—Various “Camps”
One Solution to the “Hard Problem”: Panpsychism
Why is Panpsychism So Often Dismissed or Ignored?

14. IMAGES OF THE UNIVERSE

Making Consciousness Matter
Material Images
A Conscious Universe
The Creation of Perceptions
Rumination: Opening Ourselves to the Whole

15. NONLOCALITY AND BERGSON’S UNIVERSE OF IMAGES

Bell’s Theorem and Nonlocality
Nonlocality and the work of David Bohm

16. PERCEPTIONS AND THE BRAIN

Pure Perceptions
Perceptions and the Physical Body
Relationships between the Brain and Consciousness
Understanding the Relationship between the Brain and Consciousness
The Brain’s Role in Pure Perception

17. THE INTERACTION OF PERCEPTION AND MEMORY

Pure Perceptions and “Primal” Memory
Pure Perceptions and Two Basic Forms of Memory
Rumination: Cappadocia, Turkey, 2004

18. MOVING FROM PERCEPTION TO MEMORY

The Differences between Memory and Perception
Two Types of Memories

19. THE INTERWEAVING OF RECOLLECTION MEMORY AND HABIT MEMORY

The Cone of Memory and the Plane of Perception
Planes of Consciousness
Complete Perception

20. RUMINATIONS ON THE HIDDEN POWER OF MEMORY

Rumination, Part One: Psychic Cysts and Distorted Perceptions
Rumination, Part Two: Freeing Ourselves, Creating New Worlds

21. THE PRESENCE OF THE PRESENT

The Presence of the Past and the Future of Presence
The Character of Our Present, the Presence of Our Character
Attending to the Present
Mini-Rumination: Living in the Now
The Indivisibility of Memory

22. MEMORY AND THE BRAIN

Where, Oh Where Are Our Memories Stored?
Experimental Attempts to Find Memories in the Brain
Philosophical Problems with the Memory Trace Theory
Brain Injury and Memory: Bergson’s Perspective
Brain Injury and Memory: Current Understandings

23. MIND AND MATTER AS DIFFERENT RHYTHMS OF DURÉE

The Interweaving of Mind and Matter
Quantity and Quality: The Difference Overcome
Rhythms of Durée

24. EMBODYING MEMORY

Coping with Memory
Rumination: Getting Dreamy and Going on Automatic
Learning Physical Movements
Moving Intuitively
Rumination: Bodily Intuitions

25. BECOMING CONSCIOUS OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS

Consciousness and Unconsciousness
Rumination: The Subconscious and Superconsciousness

26. RECOLLECTION MEMORY, DREAMS, AND THE ÉLAN VITAL

Bergson’s Ambivalence Toward Recollection Memory
Recollection Memory and Bergson’s Theory of Dreams
The Creativity of Dreams
Time and Dreams
Dreams, “Virtual” Memory, and the Élan Vital

27. BERGSON AND NON-ORDINARY EXPERIENCES

Rumination: A Neo-Bergsonian Understanding of Non-Ordinary Experiences
Bergson’s Participation in “Physical Research”
“‘Phantasms of the Living’ and Psychical Research”

28. BERGSON AND THE AFTERLIFE

Bergson and the Survival of Consciousness after the Death of the Physical Body
Rumination: Neo-Bergsonian Glimpses of the Afterlife
Some Final Words

NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX


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