Philosophy of Cognitive Enhancement
The reason that Bergson is useful for the philosophy of cognitive enhancement is that he provides a reasonable ontological explanation for free will with prescriptive recommendations for its achievement. He draws our attention to the qualitative and characterizes it in usable detail instead of dismissing it as inaccessible due to being subjective (as did Kierkegaard). This could help in developing a philosophy of cognitive enhancement by articulating some of the goals and experience of what it might mean for humans to engage in such practices. It is not necessary to agree with Bergson's claim in favor of free will to implement some of the underlying ideas. What is important to us in cognitive enhancement (the targeted improvement of natural human cognitive abilities) is not just better memories, but accelerated subjectivation - the ability to extend our capacity by becoming ‘more’ of who we are and can be more quickly.
Cognitive Enhancement Tools
One first cognitive enhancement application of Bergson might be in having greater activation of free will; catalyzing more ‘living now’ moments where free will could be realized. Our everyday acts are quantitative and undoubled but cognitive enhancement tools might be able to help with greater activation of the qualitative experience of life. Another application could be exploring the emergence of freedom as a property of internal experience. Bergson does not discuss whether we are free to perceive our inner states in different ways, or just one default way. It would seem that qualitative multiplicity could extend to having discretion over experience. This could inspire an ethics of perception, and an ethics of reality, as topics of cognitive enhancement philosophy. Another application area could be quantitative-qualitative transitions; tracing how the quantitative becomes the qualitative, as this might be a way into a richer, ongoing, free will-activated experience of life. There could be many applications trying to help improve our psychic states, both in their quality and accessibility, and in our awareness and perception of them.
Reference: Bergson, Henri. (2001, 1889). Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness (Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience). London UK: Dover Publications. Bergson, Free Will, and Cognitive Enhancement