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An eBook version of this title already exists in your shopping cart. Bergson delivered the first course, consisting of eleven lectures, under the title of The Problem of Personality , at the University of Edinburgh in the spring of that year. The course of lectures planned for the autumn months had to be abandoned because of the outbreak of war. Bergson was not, however, silent during the conflict, and he gave some inspiring addresses.
Meanwhile, he found time to issue at the request of the Minister of Public Instruction a brief summary of French Philosophy. Bergson did a large amount of traveling and lecturing in America during the war. He participated in the negotiations which led to the entry of the United States in the war. A session was held in January in his honour at which he delivered an address on Ollivier. In the war, Bergson saw the conflict of Mind and Matter, or rather of Life and Mechanism; and thus he shows us the central idea of his own philosophy in action.
To no other philosopher has it fallen, during his lifetime, to have his philosophical principles so vividly and so terribly tested. As many of Bergson's contributions to French periodicals remained relatively inaccessible, he agreed to the request of his friends [ which? The first of these was being planned when war broke out.
The conclusion of strife was marked by the appearance of a delayed volume in The volume opens with the Huxley Memorial Lecture of , "Life and Consciousness", in a revised and developed form under the title "Consciousness and Life". Signs of Bergson's growing interest in social ethics and in the idea of a future life of personal survival are manifested.
The volume is a most welcome production and serves to bring together what Bergson wrote on the concept of mental force, and on his view of "tension" and "detension" as applied to the relation of matter and mind. Like Bergson's, his writings were placed on the Index by the Vatican. This argument, Merleau-Ponty says, which concerns not the physics of special relativity but its philosophical foundations, addresses paradoxes caused by popular interpretations and misconceptions about the theory, including Einstein's own.
While living with his wife and daughter in a modest house in a quiet street near the Porte d'Auteuil in Paris, Bergson won the Nobel Prize for Literature in for having written The Creative Evolution. He completed his new work, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion , which extended his philosophical theories to the realms of morality, religion, and art, in It was respectfully received by the public and the philosophical community, but all by that time realized that Bergson's days as a philosophical luminary were past.
He was, however, able to reiterate his core beliefs near the end of his life, by renouncing all of the posts and honours previously awarded him, rather than accept exemption from the antisemitic laws imposed by the Vichy government.
Bergson inclined to convert to Catholicism, writing in his will on 7 February "My thinking has always brought me nearer to Catholicism, in which I saw the perfect complement to Judaism. After the fall of France in , Jews in occupied France were required to register at police stations. Nobel Prize winner. On 3 January Bergson died in occupied Paris from bronchitis. A Roman Catholic priest said prayers at his funeral per his request. Bergson rejected what he saw as the overly mechanistic predominant view of causality as expressed in, say, finalism. He argued that we must allow space for free will to unfold in an autonomous and unpredictable fashion.
While Kant saw free will as something beyond time and space and therefore ultimately a matter of faith, Bergson attempted to redefine the modern conceptions of time, space, and causality in his concept of Duration , making room for a tangible marriage of free will with causality.
Seeing Duration as a mobile and fluid concept, Bergson argued that one cannot understand Duration through "immobile" analysis, but only through experiential, first-person intuition. Bergson considers the appearance of novelty as a result of pure undetermined creation, instead of as the predetermined result of mechanistic forces.cixydaqy.gq
His philosophy emphasises pure mobility, unforeseeable novelty, creativity and freedom; thus one can characterize his system as a process philosophy. It touches upon such topics as time and identity, free will , perception, change, memory, consciousness, language, the foundation of mathematics and the limits of reason. Because of his relative criticism of intelligence, he makes a frequent use of images and metaphors in his writings in order to avoid the use of concepts , which he considers fail to touch the whole of reality, being only a sort of abstract net thrown on things.
For instance, he says in The Creative Evolution chap. III that thought in itself would never have thought it possible for the human being to swim, as it cannot deduce swimming from walking. For swimming to be possible, man must throw itself in water, and only then can thought consider swimming as possible. Intelligence, for Bergson, is a practical faculty rather than a pure speculative faculty, a product of evolution used by man to survive. If metaphysics is to avoid "false problems", it should not extend the abstract concepts of intelligence to pure speculation, but rather use intuition.
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The Creative Evolution in particular attempted to think through the continuous creation of life, and explicitly pitted itself against Herbert Spencer 's evolutionary philosophy. Spencer had attempted to transpose Charles Darwin 's theory of evolution in philosophy and to construct a cosmology based on this theory Spencer also coined the expression " survival of the fittest ".
Bergson disputed what he saw as Spencer's mechanistic philosophy. Bergson's Lebensphilosophie philosophy of life can be seen as a response to the mechanistic philosophies of his time,  but also to the failure of finalism. Bergson regarded planning beforehand for the future as impossible, since time itself unravels unforeseen possibilities. Indeed, one could always explain a historical event retrospectively by its conditions of possibility. In his words, the effect created its cause. The foundation of Henri Bergson's philosophy, his theory of Duration , he discovered when trying to improve the inadequacies of Herbert Spencer 's philosophy.
Kant believed that free will better perceived as The Will could only exist outside of time and space, indeed the only non-determined aspect of our private existence in the universe, separate to water cycles, mathematics and mortality. However, we could therefore not know whether or not it exists, and that it is nothing but a pragmatic faith.
Based on this he concluded that determinism is an impossibility and free will pure mobility, which is what Bergson identified as being the Duration. Duration, as defined by Bergson, then is a unity and a multiplicity, but, being mobile, it cannot be grasped through immobile concepts. Bergson hence argues that one can grasp it only through his method of intuition.
Two images from Henri Bergson's An Introduction to Metaphysics may help one to grasp Bergson's term intuition, the limits of concepts, and the ability of intuition to grasp the absolute. The first image is that of a city. Analysis, or the creation of concepts through the divisions of points of view, can only ever give us a model of the city through a construction of photographs taken from every possible point of view, yet it can never give us the dimensional value of walking in the city itself. One can only grasp this through intuition; likewise the experience of reading a line of Homer.
One may translate the line and pile commentary upon commentary, but this commentary too shall never grasp the simple dimensional value of experiencing the poem in its originality itself. The method of intuition, then, is that of getting back to the things themselves.
e-book Les Deux Sources de la morale et de la religion (French Edition)
This concept led several authors to characterize Bergson as a supporter of vitalism —although he criticized it explicitly in The Creative Evolution , as he thought, against Driesch and Johannes Reinke whom he cited that there is neither "purely internal finality nor clearly cut individuality in nature": . Hereby lies the stumbling block of vitalist theories It is thus in vain that one pretends to reduce finality to the individuality of the living being.
If there is finality in the world of life, it encompasses the whole of life in one indivisible embrace. In Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic , Bergson develops a theory not of laughter itself but of how laughter can be provoked see his objection to Delage, published in the 23rd edition of the essay. From his first publications, Bergson's philosophy attracted strong criticism from different quarters, although he also became very popular and durably influenced French philosophy. But he did not have the equivalent of graduate students who might have become rigorous interpreters of his thought.
Thus Bergson's philosophy—in principle open and nonsystematic—was easily borrowed piecemeal and altered by enthusiastic admirers". Alfred North Whitehead acknowledged Bergson's influence on his process philosophy in his Process and Reality. Although acknowledging Bergson's literary skills, Russell saw Bergson's arguments at best as persuasive or emotive speculation but not at all as any worthwhile example of sound reasoning or philosophical insight.
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Many writers of the early 20th century criticized Bergson's intuitionism , indeterminism, psychologism and interpretation of the scientific impulse. Those who explicitly criticized Bergson, either in published articles or in letters, included Bertrand Russell  George Santayana ,  G. Perry , E. Sellars , C. Strong, and A. The Vatican accused Bergson of pantheism , while free-thinkers [ who? Still others have characterized his philosophy as a materialist emergentism — Samuel Alexander and C. Lloyd Morgan explicitly claimed Bergson as their forebear. Hude alleges that a mystical experience , roughly outlined at the end of Les Deux sources de la morale et de la religion , is the inner principle of his whole philosophy, although this has been contested by other commentators.
Charles Sanders Peirce took strong exception to those who associated him with Bergson. In response to a letter comparing his work with that of Bergson he wrote, "a man who seeks to further science can hardly commit a greater sin than to use the terms of his science without anxious care to use them with strict accuracy; it is not very gratifying to my feelings to be classed along with a Bergson who seems to be doing his utmost to muddle all distinctions.
See, for example, Horace Kallen 's book on the subject James and Bergson. As Jean Wahl described the "ultimate disagreement" between James and Bergson in his System of Metaphysics : "for James, the consideration of action is necessary for the definition of truth, according to Bergson, action Gide even went so far as to say that future historians will overestimate Bergson's influence on art and philosophy just because he was the self-appointed spokesman for "the spirit of the age".
As early as the s, Santayana attacked certain key concepts in Bergson's philosophy, above all his view of the New and the indeterminate:. This is no great renunciation; for that consummation of science According to Santayana and Russell, Bergson projected false claims onto the aspirations of scientific method, claims which Bergson needed to make in order to justify his prior moral commitment to freedom.
Russell takes particular exception to Bergson's understanding of number in chapter two of Time and Free-will. According to Russell, Bergson uses an outmoded spatial metaphor "extended images" to describe the nature of mathematics as well as logic in general. The external world, according to certain [ which? In brief, one should not confuse the moral, psychological, subjective demand for the new, the underivable and the unexplained with the universe. Suzanne Guerlac has argued that the more recent resurgence of scholarly interest in Bergson is related to the growing influence of his follower Deleuze within continental philosophy : "If there is a return to Bergson today, then, it is largely due to Gilles Deleuze whose own work has etched the contours of the New Bergson.
This is not only because Deleuze wrote about Bergson; it is also because Deleuze's own thought is deeply engaged with that of his predecessor, even when Bergson is not explicitly mentioned. Thus Bergson became a resource in the criticism of the Hegelian dialectic , the negative.
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Several Hindu authors have found parallels to Hindu philosophy in Bergson's thought. The integrative evolutionism of Sri Aurobindo , an Indian philosopher from the early 20th century, has many similarities to Bergson's philosophy.