An Introduction to Metaphysics - Authorized Edition, Revised by the Author, With Additional Materialby Henri Bergson, T. E. Hulme
Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!)*** TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE: THIS celebrated essay was first published in the Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, in January, 1903. It appeared then after Time and Free Will and Matter and Memory and before Creative Evolution; and while containing ideas set… See more details below
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Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. (Worth every penny!)*** TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE: THIS celebrated essay was first published in the Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, in January, 1903. It appeared then after Time and Free Will and Matter and Memory and before Creative Evolution; and while containing ideas set forth in the first two of these works, it announces some of those which were afterwards developed in the last. Though this book can in no sense be regarded as an epitome of the others, it yet forms the best introduction to them. M. Edouard Le Roy in his lately published book on M. Bergson's philosophy speaks of "this marvelously suggestive study which constitutes the best preface to the books themselves." It has, however, more importance than a simple introduction would have, for in it M. Bergson explains, at greater length and in greater detail than in the other books, exactly what he means to convey by the word intuition. The intuitive method is treated independently and not, as elsewhere in his writings, incidentally, in its applications to particular problems. For this reason every writer who has attempted to give a complete exposition of it. Bergson's philosophy has been obliged to quote this essay at length; and it is indispensable therefore to the full understanding of its author's position. Translations into German, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Swedish, and Russian have lately appeared, but the French original is at present out of print. This translation has had the great advantage of being revised in proof by the author. I have to thank him for many alternative renderings, and also for a few slight alterations in the text, which he thought would make his meaning clearer. —T. K. HULME, St. John's College, Cambridge.
and an excerpt from the beginning of the essay: An Introduction to Metaphysics --
A COMPARISON of the definitions of metaphysics and the various conceptions of the absolute leads to the discovery that philosophers, in spite of their apparent divergencies, agree in distinguishing two profoundly different ways of knowing a thing. The first implies that we move round the object; the second that we enter into it. The first depends on the point of view at which we are placed and on the symbols by which we express ourselves. The second neither depends on a point of view nor relies on any symbol. The first kind of knowledge may be said to stop at the relative; the second, in those cases where it is possible, to attain the absolute. Consider, for example, the movement of an object in space."My perception of the motion will vary with the point of view, moving or stationary, from which I observe it. My expression of it will vary with the systems of axes, or the points of reference, to which I relate it; that is, with the symbols by which I translate it. For this double reason I call such motion relative: in the one case, as in the other, I am placed outside the object itself. But when I speak of an absolute movement, I am attributing to the moving object an interior and, so to speak, states of mind; I also imply that I am in sympathy with those states, and that I insert myself in them by an effort of imagination. Then, according as the object is moving or stationary, according as it adopts one movement or another, what I experience will vary. And what I experience will depend neither on the point of view I may take up in regard to the object, since I am inside the object itself, nor on the symbols by which I may translate the motion, since I have rejected all translations in order to possess the original. In short, I shall no longer grasp the movement from without, remaining where I am, but from where it is, from within, as it is in itself. I shall possess an absolute. Consider, again, a character whose adventures are related to me in a novel. The author may multiply the traits of his hero's character, may make him speak and act as much as he pleases, but all this can never be equivalent to the simple and indivisible feeling which I should experience if I were able for an instant to identify myself with the person of the hero himself. Out of that indivisible feeling, as from a spring, all the words, gestures, and actions of the man would appear to me to flow naturally. They would no longer be accidents which, added to the idea I had already formed of the character, continually enriched that idea, without ever completing it. The character would be given to me all at once, in its entirety, and the thousand incidents which manifest it, instead of adding themselves to the idea and so enriching it, would seem to me, on the contrary, to detach themselves from it, without, however, exhausting it or impoverishing its essence. All the things I am told about the man provide me with so many points of view...
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