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Key Writings by Henri Bergson (Author), Keith Ansell Pearson (Editor), John Mullarkey (Editor)

Key Writings by Henri Bergson  (Author), Keith Ansell Pearson (Editor), John Mullarkey (Editor)
'Key Writings'
By Henri Bergson  (Author), Keith Ansell Pearson (Editor), John Mullarkey (Editor)
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The twentieth century – with its unprecedented advances in technology and scientific understanding – saw the birth of a distinctively new and ‘modern' age. Henri Bergson stood as one of the most important philosophical voices of that tumultuous time. An intellectual celebrity in his own life time, his work was widely discussed by such thinkers as William James, Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, as well as having a profound influence on modernist writers such as Wallace Stevens, Willa Cather and Wyndham Lewis and later thinkers, most notably Gilles Deleuze.

Key Writings brings together Bergson's most essential writings in a single volume, including crucial passages from such major work as Time and Free WillMatter and MemoryCreative EvolutionMind-EnergyThe Creative MindThe Two Sources of Morality and Religion andLaughter. The book also includes Bergson's correspondences with William James and a chronology of his life and work.
"Henri Bergson: Key Writings will change the way we will think about Twentieth Century philosophy. It includes selections from all of Bergson's important published texts and English translations of other never before translated texts. Ansell-Pearson and Mullarkey have done a great job; their Preface to the volume is one of the best introductions to (and expansions of) Bergson's philosophy available in any language."
(Leonard Lawlor, University of Memphis)
Note: 'Great Books of the Western World' recommends 'Time and Free Will', 'Matter and Memory' and 'Creative Evolution' by Henri Bergson.


The French philosopher Bergson was another of the famous critics of Hegelianism who developed what is called process philosophy and was one of the first to develop evolutionism in a philosophical form. He spent most of his life in Paris where he studied. Originally a follower of the mechanistic philosophy, he changed his view and began to distinguish between time and duration as seen in his famous work Time and  Free Will: an Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. He defend- ed free will against determinism which Hegelian philosophy and certain other systematic philosophies of the period had asserted. Bergson also set out to show the relationship between body and mind in his Matter and Memory. In 1900 he became a professor at College de France where be was immensely popular among Catholics and also in other philosophical circles. During these years he wrote his most famous book called Creative Evolution which shows the influence of biology and Darwinian evolution upon him. He believed that the mechanism of evolution is what he called elan vital or vital impulse which brings about the process of change and transformation in nature.
Bergson's last work, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, discusses intelligence and intuition as the sources upon which both morality and religion are based. In this and  other later works, Bergson drew closer to Catholicism and away from the elan vital concept. 
Because of his opposition to rationalism and ideological constructs of the  13th/ 19th century and his emphasis upon intuition, Bergson attracted the attention of a number of Muslim thinkers of the late thirteenth/nineteenth and fourteenth/twentieth centuries and such figures as Muhammad Iqbal have spoken often about him. 
(Seyyed Hossein Nasr) 
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