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Bergson, Canguilhem and the problem of life

Grant number: 15/19036-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2016
Effective date (End): May 03, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Epistemology
Principal Investigator:Luiz Benedicto Lacerda Orlandi
Grantee:Rafael Henrique Teixeira
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/14343-0 - Le vital et le social chez Bergson et Canguilhem: et après, BE.EP.PD


The purpose of my investigation is to explore the problem of life in the works of Henri Bergson and Georges Canguilhem. I intend to demonstrate the different consequences from a postulate that I assume to be shared between the two authors, namely, that the meaning of life can only be achieved once one admits that knowledge is connected with requirements of vital order, requirements that will have their expression when the subject of knowledge considers life as an object. I will try to elucidate not only the essential differences between Bergson's and Canguilhem's definition of the vital, but also the double manner in which the technical activity, next to knowledge, will take root in life and, specially, the distinct value that Bergson and Canguilhem attach to the science when it takes life as its subject of analysis. My hypothesis is that Canguilhem, even taking as starting point an essential assumption of Bergson's point of view about the connection between life and knowledge, stands back from Bergsonian resolutions about decisive matters. It happens, firstly, in terms of the contours of life that it intends to define and, secondly, in terms of the value that science keeps in the process of elaboration of a knowledge that intends to be immune to inherent conceptual risks of the scientific inquire over organic facts.

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