Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962) was a seminal figure in contemporary French philosophy. Together with Michel Foucault, Georges Canguilhem and Jean Cavaillès, he shaped the ‘French epistemological’ school of philosophy of science. In France, Bachelard is a towering presence; in the English-speaking world, he is little known. Now, Zbigniew Kotowicz gives us the first English language, in-depth presentation of the entire spectrum of Bachelard’s work: epistemology, poetic imagination and temporality. And he explores an old philosophical tradition that Bachelard’s thought opens up – atomism – a doctrine that has been almost forgotten and is much misunderstood. ; Zbigniew Kotowicz gives us the first English language, in-depth presentation of the entire spectrum of Bachelard’s work: epistemology, poetic imagination and temporality. And he explores an old philosophical tradition that Bachelard’s thought opens up – atomism – a doctrine that has been almost forgotten and is much misunderstood. ; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Introduction; 1. The New Scientific Mind: The Epistemological Rupture; The Epistemological Obstacle; The; Ruses of Prejudice; Naïvety; Science and History; Rationalism; Truth, Dialectics, the Philosophy of No; Mathematics, la phénoménotechnique; Against Substance; Pythagorism (and further thoughts on la phénoménotechnique); Some Concluding Remarks; Appendix to Chapter 1: 'Surrationalism' by Gaston Bachelard; 2. The Imaginary: The Turn; The Imagining Faculty; Imagination and Violence; Narcissism; The Body, Hylozoism; A Psychoanalysis of a Philosophical Mind; The Four Elements; The Imaginary and Philosophy; Overcoming Pain, Overcoming Death Topophilia; Masculine Death, Feminine Death; 3. The Poetics of Time: The Instant; Duration; The Void; Rhythm and Vibration; Against Bergson; The Void and Nothingness; Concluding Remarks; Appendix: Bachelard and Atomism: Some Preliminary Remarks on Democritus, Epicurus and Pierre Gassendi; Democritus and Hylozoism; The Atom in Contemporary Thought; The Void; Four Atomist systems; Bachelard and Atomism (Epistemology); Bachelard and Atomism (‘Metaphysics’); On Philosophical Aspiration; Notes; Bibliography; Index. ; AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsIntroduction 1. The New Scientific MindThe Epistemological RuptureThe Epistemological ObstacleThe Ruses of PrejudiceNaïvetyScience and HistoryRationalismTruth, Dialectics, the Philosophy of NoMathematics, la phénoménotechniqueAgainst SubstancePythagorism (and further thoughts on la phénoménotechnique)Some Concluding RemarksAppendix to Chapter 1: 'Surrationalism' by Gaston Bachelard 2. The ImaginaryThe TurnThe Imagining FacultyImagination and ViolenceNarcissismThe Body, HylozoismA Psychoanalysis of a Philosophical MindThe Four ElementsThe Imaginary and PhilosophyOvercoming Pain, Overcoming DeathTopophiliaMasculine Death, Feminine Death 3. The Poetics of TimeThe InstantDurationThe VoidRhythm and VibrationAgainst BergsonThe Void and NothingnessConcluding Remarks Appendix: Bachelard and AtomismSome Preliminary Remarks on Democritus, Epicurus and Pierre GassendiDemocritus and HylozoismThe Atom in Contemporary ThoughtThe VoidFour Atomist systemsBachelard and Atomism (Epistemology)Bachelard and Atomism (‘Metaphysics’)On Philosophical Aspiration NotesBibliographyIndex
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Kotowicz brings a truly Bachelardian spirit to this brilliant and absorbing account of his philosophy. Touching on the current of atomism that runs through much of his writing, Kotowicz shows how, for Bachelard, the mind is at peace when it is at work, and at work in creativity. From the originality of Bachelard’s analyses of scientific rationality to the wisdom of his writing on the elements, the poetic imaginary, and time, this insightful book opens up new ways to explore his thought.
Zbigniew Kotowicz is research fellow at the Centre for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon. He spent some fifteen years working as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, mostly with R. D. Laing’s Philadelphia Association. Subsequently, he took a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Warwick. He was Wellcome Research Fellow in the History of Medicine in the Department of History, Goldsmiths, University of London.