[SydPhil] Notification: Emily Herring @ Thu 13 Jun 2019 15:00 - 16:30 (AEST) (Current Projects)

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Wed Jun 12 15:00:11 AEST 2019

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Title: Emily Herring
How Bergson Helped 20th-Century Biologists Get Creative About Evolution

When French philosopher Henri Bergson published his metaphysical  
interpretation of biological evolution, L’Evolution créatrice (Creative  
Evolution) in 1907, he was already something of a celebrity but he was  
suddenly propelled to international fame. His ideas were discussed in most  
intellectual and scientific circles. However, Bergson’s reception among  
20th-century biologists has not been subjected to thorough study. The aim  
of this paper is to demonstrate that, given the wide reception of Creative  
Evolution among biologists, Bergson can no longer be left out of historical  
accounts of 20th-century biology.
Bergson provided many biologists with the intellectual tools to reflect on  
the theoretical boundaries of their own discipline and resist the general  
trend towards specialisation which is often seen as characteristic of  
20th-century science. These biologists believed that the very questions  
their discipline raised (biological evolution, the nature of heredity,  
animal minds, etc.) forced them to go beyond the limitations of scientific  
knowledge. They saw Bergson as raising the status of biology by making it  
the most philosophical of all sciences.
We will see that taking the biological appropriations of Bergson’s ideas  
seriously sheds new light on some of the philosophical motivations of  
20th-century biologists and more generally, on the complex interplay  
between science and philosophy.
When: Thu 13 Jun 2019 15:00 – 16:30 Eastern Australia Time - Sydney
Calendar: Current Projects
     * Kristie Miller- creator

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