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HENRI BERGSON I Early Life Henri Bergson 1859-1941 the son of a Jewish musician and an English woman was educated at the Lyc Condorcet and the Normale Sup where he studied philosophy After a teaching career as a schoolmaster in various secondary schools Bergson was appointed to the Normale Sup in 1898 and from 1900 to 1921 held the chair of philosophy at the Coll de France In 1914 he was elected to the Acad Fran from 1921 to 1926 he was president of the Commission for Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations Shortly before his death in 1941 Bergson expressed in several ways his opposition to the Vichy regime Bergsons English background explains the deep influence that Spencer Mill and Darwin had on him during his youth but his own philosophy is largely a reaction against their rationalist systems Bergson developed his philosophy in a number of books that have become famous not only for their fresh interpretation of life but also for a powerful employment of metaphor image and analogy In his Essai sur les donnes imm de la conscience 1889 Time and Free Will Bergson offered an interpretation of consciousness as existing on two levels the first to be reached by deep introspection the second an external projection of the first The deeper self is the seat of creative becoming and of free will The method of intuitive introspection first employed in this work is developed further in his Introduction la m 1903 An Introduction to Metaphysics In Mati et m 1896 Matter and Memory Bergson once again took up the study of consciousness turning his attention to the relation of mind to body He argued that this distinction is one of degree not of kind The limiting concept of matter is interpreted as a momentary mind completely deprived of a memory that helps make possible freedom of choice In L cr 1907 Creative Evolution Bergson developed the theory of time
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