Creative Evolution

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Creative Evolution is a book by French philosopher Henri Bergson. The book provides an alternate explanation for Darwin's mechanism of evolution, suggesting that evolution is motivated by an élan vital, a "vital impetus" that can also be understood as humanity's natural creative impulse. The book was very popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, before the Neodarwinian synthesis was developed. The book also develops concepts of time which significantly influenced modernist writers and thinkers such as Marcel Proust. For example, Bergson's term "duration" refers to a more individual, subjective experience of time, as opposed to mathematical, objectively measurable "clock time." In Creative Evolution, Bergson suggests that the experience of time as "duration" can best be understood through creative intuition, not through intellect.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Palgrave Macmillan is to be congratulated for reissuing these classic Bergson texts. This is a timely decision since Bergson was the great thinker of life and it seems, nearly one hundred years later, that we find ourselves once again required to conceive life. Keith Ansell Pearson and John Mullarkey have been at the forefront of the new conception of life, therefore no better editors for these volumes could be selected."—Leonard Lawlor, University of Memphis

'Long absent from the center of discussion in Western philosophy, Bergson has recently made a reappearance. The Centennial Series of his works undertaken by Palgrave Macmillan thus comes at an opportune time, making it possible for those interested in Bergson's ideas t have access to newly annotated versions of several of his chief writings, freshly introduced and discussed. It is particularly good to see the republication of Mind-Energy, a treasure trove of Bergsonian insights long out of print.' - Pete A.Y. Gunter, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of North Texas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742612273
  • Publisher: Classic Books
  • Format: Library Binding

Meet the Author

HENRI BERGSON (1859-1941) is one of the truly great philosophers of the modernist period, and there is currently a major renaissance of interest in his unduly neglected texts and ideas amongst philosophers, literary theorists, and social theorists.

KEITH ANSELL PEARSON is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze (Routledge, 1999), Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual (Routledge, 2001), An Introduction to Nietzsche as Political Thinker (CUP, 1994). He is the co-editor of a forthcoming 'Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche' (Stanford) and editor of the 1890-1930 volume of Acumen's forthcoming 7-volume series in the history of Continental Philosophy.

MICHAEL KOLKMAN and MICHAEL VAUGHAN are Graduate Students at the University of Warwick, UK.

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Table of Contents

Series Preface     vii
Introduction   Keith Ansell Pearson     ix
Editions and translations of Bergson used     xxviii
Further Reading     xxix
Creative Evolution   Henri Bergson     xxxi
Translator's Note   Arthur Mitchell     xxxiii
Introduction     xxxv
The Evolution of Life - Mechanism and Teleology     1
Of duration in general
Unorganized bodies and abstract time
Organized bodies and real duration
Individuality and the process of growing old
Of transformism and the different ways of interpreting it
Radical mechanism and real duration: the relation of biology to physics and chemistry
Radical finalism and real duration: the relation of biology to philosophy
The quest of a criterion
Examination of the various theories with regard to a particular example
Darwin and insensible variation
De Vries and sudden variation
Eimer and orthogenesis
Neo-Lamarckism and the hereditability of acquired characters
Result of the inquiry
The vital impetus
The Divergent Directions of the Evolution of Life. Torpor, Intelligence, Instinct     64
General idea of the evolutionary process
Divergent and complementary tendencies
The meaning of progress and of adaptation
The relation of the animal to the plant
General tendency of animal life
The development of animal life
The main directions of the evolution of life: torpor, intelligence,instinct
The nature of the intellect
The nature of instinct
Life and consciousness
The apparent place of man in nature
On the Meaning of Life - the Order of Nature and the Form of Intelligence     120
Relation of the problem of life to the problem of knowledge
The method of philosophy
Apparent vicious circle of the method proposed
Real vicious circle of the opposite method
Simultaneous genesis of matter and intelligence
Geometry inherent in matter
Geometrical tendency of the intellect
Geometry and deduction
Geometry and induction
Physical laws
Sketch of a theory of knowledge based on the analysis of the idea of Disorder
Two opposed forms of order: the problem of genera and the problem of laws
The idea of "disorder" an oscillation of the intellect between the two kinds of order
Creation and evolution
Ideal genesis of matter
The origin and function of life
The essential and the accidental in the vital process and in the evolutionary movement
The life of the body and the life of the spirit
The Cinematographical Mechanism of Thought and the Mechanistic Illusion - a Glance at the History of Systems - Real Becoming and False Evolutionism     174
Sketch of a criticism of philosophical systems, based on the analysis of the idea of Immutability and of the idea of "Nothing"
Relation of metaphysical problems to the idea of "Nothing"
Real meaning of this idea
Form and Becoming
The philosophy of Forms and its conception of Becoming
Plato and Aristotle
The natural trend of the intellect
Becoming in modern science: two views of Time
The metaphysical interpretation of modern science: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz
The Criticism of Kant
The evolutionism of Spencer
Bibliographical Material     237
Biographical Synopses     241
Glossary of Biological Terms     248
Index     261
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    good read-mind provoking.A classic.

    this book is not about god.So do not read if you think this book is about god.The word Creative as used in the title refers more to the secular side of our biological creative form than to a one entity creator.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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