Bergson and Philosophy

Various schools of philosophy have tried to position the thought of Henri Bergson over the last eighty years. In France he has been regarded primarily as an early form of phenomenologist, in the United States and Britain he is still regarded as a vitalist philosopher. This introductory study looks instead at Bergson's use of philosophical form itself and aims to dispel the view that Bergson ever stuck to one type of philosophy at all, be it vitalism or phenomenology. The claim of any one form of thought to the title of 'first philosophy' is challenged by the idea of a Bergsonian metaphilosophy which states that, in a universe with no static foundations, there can never be first philosophies. In other words, if everything is changing, then this must be no less true of philosophy. In pursuit of this approach, John Mullarkey explores each of Bergson's seven major works from a metaphilosophical perspective. Taking each book in chronological order of publication, the first four chapters are devoted to examining one of Bergson's works against the background of current debate within its respective field - the metaphysics of space and time, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of biology, and sociobiology. The remaining four chapters take a problem-based approach examining the role of ethics, ontology, methodology and metaphilosophy in Bergson's thought. This book is an important and lucid reassessment of an influential philosopher which sets his work in philosophical contexts appropriate to his thought. Key Features * Covers all major aspects of Bergson's thought and all his philosophical writings. * Places Bergson's work in its proper philosophical context between Continental and Analytical traditions. * Relates Bergson's ideas to contemporary philosophical debate, showingthe importance of his work to Thomas Nagel, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, philosophy of mind, biology and ethics. * Written in a clear style which assumes no prior knowledge of Bergson.