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Abstract

Sartre and Bergson: A Disagreement about Nothingness


Henri Bergson's philosophy, which Sartre studied as a student, had a profound but largely neglected influence on his thinking. In this paper I focus on the new light that recognition of this influence throws on Sartre's central argument about the relationship between negation and nothingness in his Being and Nothingness. Sartre's argument is in part a response to Bergson's dismissive, eliminativist account of nothingness in Creative Evolution (1907): the objections to the concept of nothingness with which Sartre engages are precisely those raised by Bergson. Even if Sartre's account of nothingness in its entirety is found to be flawed, I argue that the points he makes specifically against Bergson are powerful. My discussion concludes with a brief examination of the wider philosophical background to Sartre's and Bergson's discussion of nothingness: here I point to some important aspects of Sartre's early philosophy, including some features of his conception of nothingness, that may testify to Bergson's positive influence on his thought.Article

Richmond, Sarah (2007) Sartre and Bergson: A Disagreement about Nothingness.


Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Citation: International Journal of Philosophical Studies (2007) 15: 77-95.
Subjects:Philosophy
Keywords:Sartre, Bergson
Divisions:Institute of Philosophy
Collections:London Philosophy Papers
Deposited By:Repository Administrator
Date Deposited:08 Oct 2010 11:39
Last Modified:12 Oct 2010 07:44
ItemID:1115
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