By Milič Čapek (auth.)

Milic Capek has committed his scholarship to the historical past and philosophy of contemporary physics. With impeccable care, he has mastered the epistemologi­ cal and medical advancements by means of operating throughout the papers, treatises, correspondence of physicists when you consider that Kant, and in addition he has placed his studying and significant ability into the similar philosophical literature. Coming from his unique medical profession with a philosophy doctorate from the Charles college in Prague, Capek has ranged past a narrowly outlined philosophy of physics into basic epistemology of the common sciences and to the total old evolution of those issues. He has ex­ pounded his perspectives on those issues in a couple of articles and, systema­ tically, in his publication The Philosophical impression of latest PhYSiCS, released in 1961 and reprinted with new appendices in 1969. His specific reward for plenty of of his readers and scholars lies within the nice interval from the mid-nineteenth century in the course of the foundations of the physics and philosophy of the 20 th, and inside of this surprising time, Profes­ sor Capek has turn into a primary expositor and sympathetic critic of the philosophy of Henri Bergson. He joins a exotic crew of students -physicists and philosophers -who were influenced to a couple in their such a lot profound and creative idea by means of Bergson's metaphysical and mental paintings: Cassirer, Meyerson, de Broglie, Metz, Jankelevitch, Zawirski, and in recent times, Costa de Beauregard, Watanabe, Blanche, and others.

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It BERGSON'S BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE 33 is vitally important for every living being that those features of its surroundings which have a bearing on its survival and well-being are signaled; while it is economical that other features of the same surrounding which have no or negligible significance for the organism are not registered. ) It is irrelevant for our present purpose to ask whether a mechanistic explanation of these features is adequate or not. Although the answer to this question sharply separated Bergson from Spencer, Helmholtz, Mach and mechanism in general, it may temporarily be set aside, since the existence of the teleological features cannot be doubted whatever genetic explanation of them is accepted.

In reading the key passages in Matter and Memory we have to bear in mind that biological, physical and psychological considerations are couched by Bergson in the language of methodological solipsism or phenomenalism, which at first glance appears to be in strange contrast to the terminology of critical realism present especially in the last chapter. A phenomenalistic terminology, however, was purposely chosen to forestall possible accusations of naive realism. Thus the body and the brain are called 'images' and their privileged character in an individual perception is shown by their comparison with other 'images', that is the physical bodies which constitute 'the external world' ; In fact, I note that the size, shape, even the color of external objects is modified according as my body approaches or recedes from them; that the strength of an odour, the intensity of the sound, increases or diminishes with distance; finally that this very distance represents, above all, the measure in which surrounding bodies are insured, in some sort against the immediate action of my body.

Pp. 78-79. 3S Helmholtz-Schlick, op. , Note 38. 36 H. Poincare, Last Essays (trans!. by John W. 12. , p. 3. , p. 112. 39 Un romantisme utilitaire, I. p. 256. 40 Op. , p. 112. 31 32 CHAPTER 3 BERGSON'S AMENDMENT OF THE CLASSICAL BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE The biological orientation of Bergson's epistemology has been already mentioned; so was his own admission of Spencer's influence on his thought. It remains to be shown in what sense and to what degree Bergson's epistemology went beyond the classical biological theory of knowledge sketched in the preceding paragraphs.

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