Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 1, Fall 2003

Reading the History of Philosophy

Leonard Lawlor
Pages 69-102

The Ontology of Memory
Bergson’s Reversal of Platonism

This essay attempts to reflect on Bergson’s contribution to the reversal of Platonism. Heidegger, of course, had set the standard for reversing Platonism. Thus the question posed in this essay, following Heidegger, is: does Bergson manage not only to reverse Platonism but also to twist free of it. The answer presented here is that Bergson does twist free, which explains Deleuze’s persistent appropriations of Bergsonian thought. Memory in Bergson turns out to be not a memory of an idea, or even of the good, which is one, but a memory of multiplicity. Therefore Bergson’s memory is really, from a Platonistic standpoint, forgetfulness or, even, a counter-memory.