Bergson, Henri
(1859–1941)
French philosopher and evolutionist. Born in Paris, in 1900 Bergson became professor at the Collège de France, and held the post until 1921. His fluent and accessible works with their uplifting spiritual content led to many honours in France, and the Nobel prize for literature in 1927. Bergson's philosophy was hostile to materialism and mechanism, and while embracing evolution saw it as driven by a creative force or original impetus of life (the élan vital ) rather than the blind operation of natural selection. His ‘dynamism’ focuses upon the continuous nature of experience, and the artificial nature of the divisions we impose with the intellect; the flow of life becomes the prime datum falsified by mechanistic and scientistic philosophies. This flow is an active, melting process or ‘pure’ time, quite different from the abstract time of natural science. This difference recurs in Bergson's analysis of memory, which retains the whole of the past in the present, with the brain acting as a kind of censor, selecting only those apprehensions of the past that are useful for the present occasion. In an analogous manner the theories of natural science, which purport to be complete theories of reality, are better seen as partial and limited reflections of the way the mind functions. In spite of the sweep of Bergson's philosophy the spiritual, indeed rhapsodic, aspect of his work has not stood the test of time, nor does the spiritual interpretation of evolution fare well against modern developments. His books included Matière et mémoire (1896, trs. as Matter and Memory, 1911), Le Rire: essai sur la signification du comique (1900, trs. as Laughter: an Essay on the Meaning of the Comic, 1921), and L’Évolution créatrice (1907, trs. as Creative Evolution, 1911).

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bergson, Henri — ▪ French philosopher Introduction in full  Henri Louis Bergson  born Oct. 18, 1859, Paris, France died Jan. 4, 1941, Paris  French philosopher, the first to elaborate what came to be called a process philosophy, which rejected static values in… …   Universalium

  • Bergson, Henri — (1859 1941)    by Felicity J. Colman   Deleuze has been credited with restoring French philosopher Henri Bergson to the canon of key thinkers of his generation, and Bergson s work continues to impact disciplines concerned with time, movement,… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Bergson, Henri — (1859 1941)    by Felicity J. Colman   Deleuze has been credited with restoring French philosopher Henri Bergson to the canon of key thinkers of his generation, and Bergson s work continues to impact disciplines concerned with time, movement,… …   The Deleuze dictionary

  • Bergson, Henri — (1859–1941)    Philosopher.    Bergson was born in Paris, to Jewish parents. Between 1900 and 1924 he held a chair at the Collège de France; he was elected to the Académie Française in 1914 and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1928. Among his… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Bergson, Henri — (1859 1941)    philosopher    Born in Paris, Bergson was professor at the CoLlège de france from 1900 to 1914. As a thinker, he left an abundance of philosophical writings, including Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience (1889),… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Bergson, Henri — (1859–1941)    French philosopher and Nobel laureate, 1928. Bergson was one of the most eminent and influential philosophers of his time. Though his father was from Poland and his mother from England, he was born in Paris and became a naturalized …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Bergson, Henri — (1859 1941)    French philosopher. Born in Paris, he taught philosophy at the Angers Lycee and later at Clermont Ferrard. In 1889 he returned to Paris and in 1900 became professor at the College de France. In 1928 he received the Nobel Prize for… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • BERGSON, HENRI LOUIS — (1859–1941), French philosopher. His father, michael bergson , came from a distinguished Warsaw family; his mother from England. He was born in Paris and from 1881 taught philosophy at the Angers Lycée and subsequently at Clermont Ferrand, where… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Bergson, Henri (-Louis) — born Oct. 15, 1859, Paris, France died Jan. 4, 1941, Paris French philosopher. In Creative Evolution (1907), he argued that evolution, which he accepted as scientific fact, is not mechanistic but driven by an élan vital ( vital impulse ). He was… …   Universalium

  • Bergson,Henri Louis — Berg·son (bĕrgʹsən, bĕrg sôɴʹ), Henri Louis. 1859 1941. French philosopher and writer whose popular and accessible works, including Creative Evolution (1907) and The Creative Mind (1934), largely concern the importance of intuition as a means of… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”