Phenomenology Online

A Resource for Phenomenological Inquiry

Bergson, Henri (1859-1941) is a French philosopher and Nobel Prize winner of literature.Bergson was born in Paris, October 18, 1859, and received his education at the École Normale Supérieure and the University of Paris. He taught in various secondary schools from 1881 until 1898, when he accepted a professorship at the École Normale Supérieure. Two years later he was appointed to the chair of philosophy at the Collège de France. In 1914 Bergson was elected to the French Academy. In 1927 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. He died January 4, 1941.


The influence of Bergson’s earlier books, as well as his many papers and lectures, on the philosophers, artists, and writers of the 20th century is extensive. He was a master prose stylist and a brilliant lecturer.Although often associated with the intuitionalist school of philosophy, Bergsonism is too original and eclectic a philosophy to be thus categorized. Bergson did, however, emphasize the importance of intuition over intellect, as he promoted the idea of two opposing currents: inert matter in conflict with organic life as the vital urge strives toward free creative action.


Some of Bergson’s works are Time and Free Will (1889; trans. 1910), Matter and Memory (1896; trans. 1911), Laughter (1900; trans. 1901), Creative Evolution (1907; trans. 1911), The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932; trans. 1935).