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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 53, 2008

Theory of Knowledge

Seon-Hui Lee
Pages 393-399

Perception as Act in Bergson

This paper is for the purpose of clarify that perception is a conscious act through Bergson’s theory of images and perception in Matter and Memory. And yet this ‘act’ is not a pure action of consciousness or of sprit, which is transcendental from the reality and composes or recomposes it. That is, our perception is not pure knowledge. A pure conception is unconscious one, which takes place infinitely within the system of matter that is an ‘aggregate of images’ in which all the elements act and react upon one another according to the law of nature. This system is excentric. On the contrary, the consciousness comes into being in the moment when these unlimited actions/reactions are limited and with choice, that is, when the passage from the ‘immediate’ to ‘useful’ in done. Therefore an activity of consciousness is already a practice of life. However, this perception as act reveals at the same time a proper capacity to subject/being, in that it forms a realm of subjectivity and creates its own field of perception, which are not reducible to the movement or nature of matter, so are different system from matter, every moment through memory.