Continental Philosophy Review 46 (1):57-74 (2013)

Wahida Khandker
Manchester Metropolitan University
The idea of the élan vital is crucial for an understanding of Bergson’s metaphysical method, underpinning the way in which philosophy stands with other forms of creative activity as an endeavour of “self-overcoming,” the self or subject no longer being at the centre of thought, but understood rather as a product of the process of thinking. In placing a special emphasis on Bergson’s 1907 work, Creative Evolution, the present essay is both an acknowledgement and challenge to the shift from early interpretations of Bergson in which comparisons were made with thinkers such as Schelling and Schopenhauer, to more recent engagements centred on the theories of perception and memory. The aim of this essay is to formulate a response to the marginalized status of Creative Evolution in the “perception-based” strands of Bergson scholarship, by emphasising how Bergson’s theories of memory and consciousness are a means for understanding his definition of evolutionary “creativity.” Bergson suggests that the analysis of consciousness or “will” can provide us with a way of thinking about this creative movement of life, which is not a concept of a “cause” or “origin” in the sense of a “state of nature” (substance, essence, or “being”), but rather the operation of pure tendency
Keywords Memory  Will  Evolution  Creativity  Bergson  Schopenhauer
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DOI 10.1007/s11007-013-9248-y
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Creative Evolution.Henri Bergson - 1911 - London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Creative Evolution.Henri Bergson (ed.) - 1911 - New York: the Modern Library.
Bergsonism.GILLES DELEUZE - 1988 - Zone Books.

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