Bergson-Deleuze Encounters

Transcendental Experience and the Thought of the Virtual

By Valentine Moulard-Leonard

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Aesthetics, Postmodernism
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary French Thought
Paperback : 9780791475324, 208 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475317, 208 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents


Introduction. Virtual Empiricism: The Revaluation of the Transcendental
Briefly Mapping Our Experimental Journey

1. Bergson’s Genealogy of Consciousness: Freedom and Pure Perception
The Immediate Data of Consciousness: Time and Free Will
Emerging Consciousness:The Role of the Body
From Psychology to Metaphysics: Pure Perception and Beyond

2. Introducing Memory: From the Psychological to the Virtual
Bergsonian Dualisms—Memory and the Brain: Which Survival?
Folding Over: The Psychological Is Also Necessarily Virtual

3. The Unconscious as Ontology of the Virtual
From Dualism to Difference
The Élan Vital or the Ontologization of Duration
Memory as Virtual Coexistence
Sense and Sensibility: Bergsonian Positivism

4. Between Bergson and Deleuze: The Method of Intuition as Transcendental/Virtual Empiricism
Absolute Movement and Intuition
Intuition and Superior Empiricism

5. Cinematic Thought: The Deleuzean Image and the Crystals of Time
Why the Cinema?
Toward the Crystal-Image: A Vision of the Genesis of Time

6. Proust and Thought: Death, Art, and the Adventures of the Involuntary
Death Is the Truth of Thought
How Might Death Be Put to Work?
Art as the Production of Essences

Conclusion. Bergson-Deleuze Encounters: Machinic Becomings and Virtual Materialsm
First Question: What Does Deleuze Find in Bergson?
Second Question: Why the Image?
Third Question: Why Read Deleuze after Bergson?
Fourth Question: Which Machinic Becomings?


Explores the continuities and discontinuities in the work of Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze.


Bergson-Deleuze Encounters sheds light on the intricate bond between French philosophers Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze. It explores the major diffraction between the two thinkers, conveys a sense of the irreducible originality of Deleuze's thought, and offers a detailed account of Bergson's "Copernican Revolution." In so doing, it presents an explanation of thought and experience that contrasts with the dominant account of the phenomenological tradition. Valentine Moulard-Leonard argues that Bergson and Deleuze share a novel conception of the transcendental—which they call the Virtual—that marks a new era in thinking, in which what is ultimately at stake is a new vision of time, experience, and materiality. The Virtual provides an indispensable alternative to the totalizing systems spawned by the traditional transcendent image of thought—be they systems of idealism, scientific positivism, nationalism, racism, sexism, or dogmatism.

Valentine Moulard-Leonard is an independent scholar living in Memphis, Tennessee.


"The relationship between Bergson's and Deleuze's works has yet to be explored fully, and the author makes a strong case for a fundamental continuity in their thought. Her focus on them as advocates of a post-Kantian philosophy of transcendental experience brings to the fore the fundamental ontological and epistemological dimensions of their thought." — Ronald Bogue, author of Deleuze's Wake: Tributes and Tributaries