Multiplicity (philosophy)

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Multiplicity (French: multiplicité) is a philosophical concept developed by Edmund Husserl and Henri Bergson from Riemann's description of the mathematical concept.[1] In his essay The Idea of Duration, Bergson discusses multiplicity in light of the notion of unity. Whereas a unity refers to a given thing in as far as it is a whole, multiplicity refers to the "parts [of the unity] which can be considered separately."[2] Bergson distinguishes two kinds of multiplicity: one form of multiplicity refers to parts which are quantitative, distinct, and countable, and the other form of multiplicity refers to parts that are qualitative, which interpenetrate, and which each can give rise to qualitatively different perception of the whole.[3]

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  1. ^ "It was Riemann in the field of physics and mathematics who dreamed about the notion of 'multiplicity' and other different kinds of multiplicities. The philosophical importance of this notion then appeared in Husserl's Formal and Transcendental Logic, as well as in Bergson's Essay on the Immediate Given of Awareness" (Deleuze 1986, 13).
  2. ^ Bergson (2002, 49).
  3. ^ Bergson (2002,72-74)


  • Bergson, Henri. 2002. Henri Bergson. Key Writings. Edited by Keith Ansell Pearson and John Mullarkey. New York and London: Continuum.
  • Nicholas Tampio, ["Multiplicity"] "Sage Encyclopedia of Political Theory" (2010).