Talk:Henri Bergson

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What, specifically, was the mathematical problem whose solution was Bergson's first publication? -- Mike Hardy

Why would make Bergson an existentialist??? Marc Girod 15:24, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)

"The Roman Catholic Church, however, which still believes that finality was reached in philosophy with the work of Thomas Aquinas, in the thirteenth century, and consequently makes that mediaeval philosophy her official, orthodox, and dogmatic view,,,,,".

This bit is quite clearly false. Just read Vatican II. More specific information on request if you want it.

The information I have added comes from the Catholic Encyclopaedia and the article it has on Henri Bergson.WHEELER 17:24, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Where did you find an article on Henri Bergson in the Catholic Encyclopedia? There doesn't seem to be one there now.

You assert that, in 1911, the Roman Catholic Church "still believed that finality was reached in philosophy with the work of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, and consequently had made that mediaeval philosophy her official, orthodox, and dogmatic view, . . .", but that makes no sense. St. Bonaventure - whose views were opposed to those of Aquinas - was made a Doctor of the Church in 1588. Also, the Church had ruled Aquinas wrong on a number of points, including, most famously in 1854, his views opposing the Immaculate Conception. Joey1898 21:44, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

The Comments below were moved here from Talk:Fascism.

These comments are going to be put back onto Talk:Fascism. They do not belong here. 172 had no business moving them. WHEELER 14:20, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)


This article should be cut into sections; in its present form it is kind of hard to read ^^ FiP 15:42, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I would like to protest the link to Fascism unless a solid link between Bergson and Fascism can be made, therefore I added a link to Open Society which is a term that Bergson coined and advocated. --Butter 20:51, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I agree that cutting this up into sections will help, and there's enough material about the Bergson-James relation here to make that a section of its own. I'll do so. --Christofurio 17:28, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)

Major Concern re this page[edit]

There is considerable renewed interest in Bergson at present which appears to be missing on the page at present. Would anyone help me review this. Personally, I am especially interested in - but have no expertise on - the critical dispute between Bergson and Einstein on Time Jeffrey Newman 04:42, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Family background: I have edited out the reference to English 'blood' and added the Irish connexion. His mother was, I think, born or brought up in Doncaster but the family had been living in Ireland. The information, I think, is in Philippe Soulez biography. Where, and how, do we put sources? Jeffrey Newman 04:08, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In reference to the article, could there be something about 'duration'(Duree), in regards to Bergsons thinking of temporarity? This would be helpful, I realise there is reference to 'memory', also some reference to 'multiplicities' would be a great help, epecially in terms of Bergson's thinking of 'duration'. I also believe this is central to the debate between Bergson and Einstein.


M. Bergson?[edit]

Santayana has many aphorisms mentioning M. Bergson the idealist, I can find in google "M. Bergson" many times, but not a whole first name. I suppose he was a contemporary of Santayana. There should be a disambiguation if anyone knows more Nagelfar 02:31, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

M. Bergson would be Monsieur Bergson. In fact I know that Santayana was a fan of Henri Bergson. I propose the disambiguation be deleted. --Butter 22:11, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

The notion that Santayana was anything but a virulent critic of Bergson is false. I have added a well-needed section on Bergson criticism explaining this and some of the history of his reception. 01:37, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

This is a pretty general thing, but this article seems to have more to do with the Bergson-James relationship than Bergson's actual philosophy. I'm not well-Bergsoned enough to add that in myself, but for someone who was quite a philosophical celebrity in his day it's strange to see so little discussion of his ideas. -- 06:26, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

This article told me more than I had a right to expect about Henri Bergson's career, but I have to agree with the previous remark that an enlarged discussion of Bergson's philosophy would be very helpful. I was specifically looking for some brief (is it possible?) remarks concerning Bergson's ideas set forth in Matter and Memory. Walter Benjamin mentions this work in his essay, "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire," published in Illuminations. Mary Wilbur-- 21:23, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I have to agree with these guys above, there is alot on his career, and relationship to James. But very little on his thinking for example, Duration[Duree]. His thinking on duration in regard to actual and the virtual, had a considerible impact on the thinking of Deleuze & Guattari, especially on their conception of the smooth & striated which is found in A Thousand Plateaus. Mark

Élan vital[edit]

No mention of this pivotal metaphysical and philosophical idea constitutes, I would suggest, a glaring omission. There is a page on élan vital which is a stub and where Henri Bergson is listed. meco 19:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

To say nothing of Duration, around which both his epistemology and his metaphysic (including élan vital) were built. I'm considering adding a crappy version of a section on the subject myself, just because it's silly for there not to be anything on it in this article. -- 05:49, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Bergson and motor racing[edit]

"Clermont-Ferrand, capital of the Puy-de-Dôme département, a town whose name is usually more of interest for motorists than for philosophers, being the home of Michelin tyres and the Charade Circuit racing track." Suggesting that Bergson moved to C-F because he was a racing enthusiast is very amusing, but hardly fair as he moved there in the early 1880s. Jedermann 10:39, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


For anyone wiki-wandering or looking for a brief summation of Bergson's place in intellectual history, this article is a nightmare. If the major achievements of Bergson's career (Nobel prize?) and perhaps one important fact from each section were described initially, it would not only permit a reader to leave with a clearer impression but also help tie together the much denser body paragraphs.

Bergson was not a Polish Jew, nor was he a French Roman Catholic[edit]

It is absolutely ridiculous for someone to include Bergson under the category of "Polish Jew", "Polish-French", or "French Roman Catholic". There is no documentation of Bergson ever converting to Roman Catholicism or Christianity. To call Bergson a "Polish-French" person is to call Julia Louis Dreyfus a "French-Jewish" person even though her Mother is not Jewish and Julia was born in America, and her "French-Jewish" father is an American citizen who was born in France of an American mother and who left France permanently at age 8. Bergson was born in Paris. His parents were French citizens. It makes no difference if his ancestors were from Poland, England, Ireland, or Israel. The article is about Bergson NOT the past nationalities of his parents and grandparents. Bergson cannot simultaneously be a "French Jew", "French Roman Catholic", "Polish-French" person, "English-Irish-French" person, or "Polish-English-Irish-French-Hebrew-Roman Catholic-Jew." If Bergson is to be classified as anything it would be a French Jew. He has no claim to Polish, Irish, or English nationality or ethnicity. Pistolpierre 22:13, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

You knew the man, I assume? Otherwise how can you say he had no claim to Polish ancestry, or that he wasn't proud of it for that matter, agreed a citation is needed, but JEW is an ethnicity that people will claim to being (e.g. Jewish-American). Your arguement is foundationless, comparing Bergson to Julia Dreyfus, bleh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

I see the mentioning that he was born in Paris, yet he was French by naturalization. A cliche is to ask: Why would he need a naturalization?-- (talk) 22:17, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

So, what did he think?[edit]

There is next to nothing in this article on his philosophy. Plenty on where he might have been influenced, how his work was received, and his lecturing and publishing, but the content of his work is missing. Anyone know what it was? (The articles Élan vital, Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution (book) are pretty stubby. Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 08:21, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

I have created two articles on Bergson’s ideas, one on his method of intuition and the other on his theory of Duration. The latter suffices as an introduction, but the former could use a lot of work. However, I plan on improving the article and perhaps creating a section which is a basic overview of his philosophy within the main article, because, as you yourself have pointed out, his philosophy has been poorly treated on Wikipedia. Le vin blanc 11:36, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Philosophy Section Added[edit]

I have added a section which contains a basic overview of Henri Bergson’s philosophy. It mentions his influences, theory of Duration and method of intuition. It needs to be expanded to include his theory of Élan Vital, his idea that perception is memory and this idea’s implications. Le vin blanc 13:22, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I have now added a little bit of information on Bergson's Élan Vital, but I believe the section can use being expanded. Le vin blanc 14:00, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
I have added a section on Bergson's theory of laughter. If someone can provide references from the primary source, Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic, it would greatly improve the section's legitimacy. I believe that the only major ideas to be added now are those from Matter and Memory and The Two Sources of Morality and Religion. Le vin blanc 14:00, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
      • Hey, what's with this comment "One of Bergson's main problems is to think novelty as pure creation, instead of as the unraveling of a predetermined program."? Stating Bergson's philosophy as a "problem" is a tad bias, so I think this line should be reworded. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:02, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Spinoza and Frege influences?[edit]

There is nothing about the relationship Bergson had with Spinoza's philosophy apart from a simple listing in the Influences section of the infobox. Same for Frege. (talk) 14:34, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Bergson and Shaw?[edit]

When George Bernard Shaw talked about "Creative Evolution" and "the Life Force" in plays such as BACK TO METHUSALEH, was he quoting Bergson, or was it a coincidence? If the former, this should be listed as one of Bergson's legacies. (talk) 03:03, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

More on Legacy, less criticism[edit]

This page has a very hefty criticism section at the bottom, but little about Bergson's profound legacy. This seems to suggest that Bergson is mostly remembered in a critical light, which is not true at all. Therefore, I would suggest that a section be added to discuss Bergson's legacy and influence on subsequent philosophy. It might also be a good idea to add discussion of Bergson's influence on art and architecture as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:43, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, the people who were critiquing him are a bit of a giveaway. I'd imagine he came under legitimate attack from the now-defunct positivists. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:53, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Legacy: Influence on H.Sunden[edit]

Following on from that last point, I understand that Bergson influenced the Swedish psychologist Hjalmar Sunden. I have started an article on Sunden - a little concerned that it could be deemed an orphaned article, I think that if Bergson's influence on Sunden is mentioned here, that may help to reduce that happening. (talk) 20:27, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

I think I might be correct on stating that Sunden's doctoral thesis was on Bergson. By the way, I am the same person who made the above comment when I was not logged in to Wikipedia. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 19:11, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

The bacon stuff is obviously bullshit[edit]

The stuff on a three-sided bacon plange is obviously bullshit and should be removed. I was intrigued at first and googled it, finding nothing, and there's no mention of it on the page. I guess it's a good chuckle, but he didn't publish anything in 1935. i'd remove it but i'm not a wikiuser per se —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up. I did my best to fix it. I'm not sure which version of the conversion-to-Catholicism text to go with. — goethean 20:44, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

removing tags[edit]

Since there has bee no discussion on the talk page of issues related to the NPOV and sources tags, I will tentatively remove them. — goethean 02:57, 27 February 2009 (UTC)


WP-fr says nothing of the pronunciation of his name being odd. Do we know that the en was pronounced? kwami (talk) 07:49, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

No, the final 'n' would not be pronounced, in fact in French it couldn't be pronounced unless there was a feminine ending, e.g. "Bergsonne". A more accurate French pronunciation would be [bɛʁɡ'sɔ̃]. Lonegroover (talk) 11:53, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, it could be—proper names are often irregular. But if you know this name is not, we should change it.
Webster's gives an approximation of the French, suggesting the [k] is correct but the [n] is not. I changed it accordingly. kwami (talk) 12:35, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
French names are often irregular, it's true (Pierre Boulez), but this name doesn't conform to the typical patterns of irregularity. I would expect [bɛʁɡ'sɔ̃] here as well. The /k/ is appropriate for the German word "Berg". The Slavic languages will also change a terminal voiced consonant to its voiceless equivalent, so perhaps because of his family ancestry, there's a /k/?
Varlaam (talk) 19:28, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

It is certainly pronounced as indicated, I've been studying philosophy in Paris for eight years and never heard a different pronunciation. His name is considered somewhat "foreign" in French, since it comes from Yiddish. The final "n" is pronounced, the desonorisation of /g/ to /k/ before /s/ is normal. In some pronunciations, even the accent might shift to the first syllable, as if it were a genuine German word, but this doesn't occur regularly. -- (talk) 11:04, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

external links[edit]

I can not open most of the external links with my Firefox browser, offers only to save the data. Can someone check and adapt the links if needed? --Neozoon 23:09, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes, all of the links based on fail consistently.
Varlaam (talk) 19:45, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

The Church's decree of 1914[edit]

I have removed the subsentence "[The Roman Catholic Church,] which still believed that finality was reached in philosophy with the work of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, and consequently had made that mediaeval philosophy her official, orthodox, and dogmatic view […]". Since 2004 somebody (see above) underlined that this is false and out of context. Other than the example of St. Bonaventure, one can cite many other theologians after Thomas that have given original contributions to the Catholic Faith and yet have been made Doctors of the Church (St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross…).

Zio tom78 (talk) 15:43, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Influenced by Plotinus[edit]

I added Plotinus as an influence. See this source:

"That the philosophy of Henri Bergson is significantly influenced by the doctrines of Plotinus is indicated by the many years Bergson devoted to teaching Plotinus and the many parallels in their respective philosophies. This influence has been discussed at some length by Bergson's contemporaries, such as Emile Bréhier and Rose-Marie Rossé-Bastide..." (talk) 21:03, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Removal of link to online reference[edit]

On 2010-06-17 at 1748 hours a Wikipedian removed (without explanation) a valid URL linking to a reference, thus depriving Wikipedia readers of straightforward navigation to a scholarly source. Let's restore the URL. -- Pedant17 (talk) 01:22, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Comprehensive List of Major Works[edit]

Does anyone have access to a list of Bergson's major works? It would be nice to see a section that listed these. Right now there is the section that lists his 4 most popular books, but I think there are other books and/or papers that should be on the list. From what I understand Bergson wrote a lot in his time and the short list does not do this justice. urbinsanity (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 03:35, 23 April 2011 (UTC).

Wikipedia standards[edit]

"Henri-Louis Bergson (French: [bɛʁksɔn] 18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) was a major French philosopher, influential especially in the first half of the 20th century. Bergson convinced many thinkers that immediate experience and intuition are more significant than rationalism and science for understanding reality." - I see some clear partiality here. Would it be fitting to Wikipedia standards to say that Bergson "convinced" people of some thesis? Is this a fair description of philosophical research and academic debate? To say that he is influential "especially in the first half of the 20th century" is also derogatory to some degree, does this mean his ideas are not as influential now as they were during the firs half of the 20th century? He is certainly within the most influential of french philosophers from the last 150 years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:33, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

The Physicist and the Philosopher[edit]

A major new book by Jimina Canales appeared in 2015, winning a prize as the Science book of the year, on the continuing and defining debate on April 22 1922 between Einstein and Bergson. It documents how Einstein's success and his scathing attack on Bergson as a 'psychologist' was the beginning of the rapid decline in Bergson's influence but that now it is becoming apparent there were mutual important misunderstandings which still echo today. I have lost my Wikipedia identity and lack the expertise to edit the main article so add this information here.

Incidentally, the article is, in the whole, readable and highly informative, descending st the end into a POV meaningless jumble of names. (talk) 06:34, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

The book by Jimena Canales you cite is probably very interesting, but the information you give seems me not sufficient to add significant information to the article.--Auró (talk) 21:27, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

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