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Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

The Bergson-Deleuze Encounter: Materialism of the Virtual

Deleuze’s relationship with Bergson was not merely a French philosopher’s academic interest in his own tradition, but also an encounter creating unexpected possibilities and an event generating new truths. This article presents an account of Deleuze’s reading of Bergson and shows how Deleuze used Bergson to produce a re-reading of philosophy and cinema, detailing Deleuze’s references to Bergson in a chronological manner. Against those who viewed Bergson as a vitalist, spritualist philosopher, Deleuze generated a new materialist ontology based on Bergson’s notion of virtuality. Deleuze brought Bergson to bear on the needs of present by reclaiming him from his virtual state in the past. But every such effort is also an interpretive act. For this reason, prior to discussing how Deleuze re-read Bergson in accordance with his own needs, this paper begins by offering a portrait of Bergson based on his own writings. It then turns to an examination of Deleuze’s work, with special attention to how his philosophy of cinema depends on Bergson’s concept of image. Writing against a Hegelian tradition of progressive, dialectical difference based on negation, Bergson offered an account of virtual multiplicity that affirmed difference. This paper argues that Deleuze used Bergon’s theory to develop an original ontology that provided new possibilities for understanding multiplicity, becoming, and difference, as well as a non-subject-centered theory of consciousness and philosophy of cinema.

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