2018-01Thematic Section
Syntheses Solution: Untangling Bergson’s and Husserl’s Temporal Ontologies


It seems uncontroversial that persons have a particular ontology, and a temporal ontology at that. Yet attempting to “unpack” the intimate relation between the being of a person and time often leaves one frustrated and perplexed. Both Edmund Husserl and Henri Bergson are explicitly concerned with the manner in which persons experience and understand time primitively. Both are concerned with taking our understanding of time away from the mere motions of a clock or the days of a calendar, and examining how time and temporality are given to persons (Husserl), and lived-through by persons (Bergson). This paper demonstrates that, taken together as mutually supporting, Bergson’s and Husserl’s writings on time are able more clearly to express primordial structures of time itself and temporal experience. Applying the insights of Husserl’s analysis of passive syntheses to Bergson’s idea of temporal duration advances the project of personal, temporal, ontology.


Bergson, Husserl, Ontology, Passive Synthesis, Persons, Phenomenology, Time

How to cite:

Donnelly, Matthew Z. “Syntheses Solution: Untangling Bergson’s and Husserl’s Temporal Ontologies.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 1(3) (2018): 54–66. https://doi.org/10.26319/3916.


Matthew Z. Donnelly
Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Faner Hall, Mail Code 4505, 980 Faner Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA


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