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(1976) The concepts of space and time, Dordrecht, Springer.

On Zeno's parodoxes

Henri Bergson

pp. 245-250

We discover here, at its outset, the illusion which accompanies and masks the perception of real movement. Movement visibly consists in passing from one point to another, and consequently in traversing space. Now the space which is traversed is infinitely divisible; and as the movement is, so to speak, applied to the line along which it passes, it appears to be one with this line and, like it, divisible. Has not the movement itself drawn the line? Has it not traversed in turn the successive and juxtaposed points of that line? Yes, no doubt, but these points have no reality except in a line drawn, that is to say motionless; and by the very fact that you represent the movement to yourself successively in these different points, you necessarily arrest it in each of them; your successive positions are, at bottom, only so many imaginary halts. You substitute the path for the journey, and because the journey is subtended by the path you think that the two coincide. But how should a progress coincide with a thing, a movement with an immobility?

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-1727-5_43

Full citation:

Bergson, H. (1976)., On Zeno's parodoxes, in M. Čapek (ed.), The concepts of space and time, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 245-250.

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