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Fictive Time - Bachelard on Memory, Duration and Consciousness

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I am concerned here with an analysis of time and memory as human creations. Drawing on the work of Bachelard, but also on Guyau and Janet, I argue that time and memory can be thought of as "fictive", as a work of human imagination and creativity. Temporal rhythms are not simple repetitions, but acts of will, marked by an attempt to perfect earlier repetitions. Memory is not simply a photographic record of the past accessed by intuition, but rather a cinematic act of narration. Time is a human creative act, as is the self, with which it is closely bound up. The very nature of reasoning and of our engagement with the world, imply that both time and the self are discontinuous and open. Thought and creation involve negations and ruptures. As such, Bachelardian time is at odds with Bergsonian duration. This paper follows Bachelard as he develops his own understanding of time and memory through a "subversive" critique of Bergson's thought.


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