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Henri Bergson (1859 - 1941)

Go BackThe Problem of Life, the Problem of Knowledge
Philosophy Books Bergsonism by Gilles Deleuze

by Gilles Deleuze

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Bergson:  Thinking Backwards Bergson : Thinking Backwards (Modern European Philosophy) by F. C. T. Moore

Taking as its point of departure Bergson's insistence on precision in philosophy, this volume shows how relevant he is to much of contemporary philosophy. It will prove appealing to teachers and students of philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, religious studies and literature.

F.C.T. Moore's book is the best introduction to the philosophy of Bergson available on the market today. It is interested in Bergson's own method; it does not assume that Bergson was trying to be like Bertrand Russell and failing. The chapters on laughter and on the theory of relativity are brilliant in the way they connect Bergson's "marginal" works to the core of his project. -- Anonymous Review

This book by F.C.T. Moore provides a valid and worth while engagement of the philosophy of one of France's most important philosophers. Bergson's theories of space and time "Duree", were vital in Futurist thinking and provided a grounding for their initial, and some may argue best work. F.C.T Moore presents Bergson's philosophy in a practical and systematic manner, easily understood and comprehensive. -- Anonymous Review

Henri Bergson:  Creative Evolution
From the Mead Project (Archived)

Citation: Henri Bergson. "Table of Contents",  Creative Evolution, translated by Arthur Mitchell, Ph.D. New York: Henry Holt and Company (1911).


Translator's Note


The Evolution of Life --  Mechanism and Teleology

Of duration in general -- Unorganized bodies and abstract time -- Organized bodies and real duration -- Individuality and the process of growing old

Of transformism and the different ways of interpreting it -- Radical mechanism and real duration: the relation of biology to physics and chemistry -- Radical finalism and real duration: the relation of biology to philosophy

The quest of a criterion -- Examination of the various theories with regard to a particular example -- Darwin and insensible varion -- Devries and sudden variation -- Eimer and orthogenesis -- Neo-Lamarkism and the hereditability of acquired characters

Results of the inquiry -- The vital impulse 


The Divergent Directions of the Evolution of Life -- Torpor, Intelligence, Instinct

General idea of the evolutionary process -- Growth -- Divergent and complementary tendencies -- The meaning of progress and of adaptation

The relation of the animal to the plant -- General tendency of animal life -- The development of animal life

The main directions of the evolution of life: torpor, intelligence, instinct

The nature of the intellect

The nature of instinct

Life and consciousness -- The apparent place of man in nature


On the Meaning of Life -- The Order of Nature and the Form of Intelligence

Relation of the problem of life to the problem of knowledge -- The method of philosophy -- Apparent vicious circle of the method proposed -- Real vicious circle of the opposite method

Simultaneous genesis of matter and intelligence -- Geometry inherent in matter -- Geometrical tendency of the intellect -- Geometry and deduction -- Geometry and induction -- Physical laws

Sketch of a theory of knowledge based on the analysis of the idea of Disorder -- Two opposed forms of order: the problem of genera and the problem of laws -- The idea of "disorder" an oscillation of the intellect between the two kinds of order

Creation and evolution -- Ideal genesis of matter -- The origin and function of life -- The essential and the accidental in the vital process and in the evolutionary movement -- Mankind -- The life of the body and the life of the spirit


The Cinematographical Mechanism of Thought and the Mechanistic Illusion -- A Glance at the History of Systems -- Real Becoming and False Evolutionism

Sketch of a criticism of philosophical systems, based on the analysis of the idea of Immutability and the idea of "Nothing" -- Relation of metaphysical problems to the idea of "Nothing" -- Real meaning of this idea

Form and Becoming

The philosophy of Forms and its conception of Becoming -- Plato and Aristotle -- The natural trend of the intellect

Becoming in modern science: two views of Time.

The metaphysical interpretation of modern science: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz

The Criticism of Kant

The evolutionism of Spencer


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