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The central claim of this chapter is that Bergson’s élan vital is not a teleology, only a direction. Like the free act, creative evolution allows for determinism only retroactively. Here Jankélévitch lays out Bergson’s method of philosophical intuition, which alone both follows and comprehends the irreversible order of life and is thus, momentarily, able to overcome the opposition between a qualitative and concrete instinct and a quantifying, hypothetical and indifferent intellect. He proceeds to claim that, for Bergson, real organisms result from a compromise with matter that life has to accept.

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