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Reflection on Bergson's Philosophy

A. Appan Ramanujam (Author)
Synopsis The goal of this study is to analyze the shift in Bergson's philosophy, which occurred, between the writing of Creative Evolution (1906) and the writing of The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932).  In the first part of this book, the author examines the historical roots of Bergson's thought.  He argues that Bergson's concept of duration was founded on the thought of Herbert Spencer, Boutroux, Renouvier, Balmes, Delboef, Lotze, Willam James and James Ward, while Bergson's concept of intuition was indebted to Jules Tannery, Jules Lachelier, Ravaisson, Cournot, Fouillee, Guyau, Schopenhauer and Maine de Biran.  The author holds that Bergson’s psychology was influenced by Ribot and that Lalande, Schopenhauer, Hartmann, Benouvier, Ravaisson and Marin influenced the formation of his concept of élan vital.  The author concludes that William James and Emile Durkheim played significant roles in the formulation of The Two Sources of Morality and Religion.  The second part of the book concerns Bergson’s earlier and later concepts of God, intellect and intuition.  In Creative Evolution, God is the impersonal and undetermined "push" behind evolution.  In The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, God becomes both personal and purposeful.  The third part of the book examines the shift in philosophy thought in greater detail.  In includes a discussion of Bergson's attitudes towards Roman Catholicism and Judaism, his concepts of the relations between intuition (especially mystical intuition) and practical problems, his limitation of moral duties to human beings and his conception of Oriental religion.  Mystical intuition is portrayed by Bergson, as both practical action and as absorption in God.  Similarly, Bergson preaches an "open morality."  But such a morality cannot be limited to man alone.  To be truly open it must include duties explicitly to the sub-human world as well as to the human.  Bergson's treatment of Indian mysticism as incomplete will amuse the student of Indian philosophy.  The ideal of universal brotherhood had been emphasized in Upanisads, Janism and Buddhism well before Christianity.
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About the author

A. Appan Ramanujam

Dr. A. Appan Ramanujam, born in 1947.  He did his B.Sc. (Physics), Madurai University; M.A. (Philosophy) and Ph.D., Annamalai University.  He was awarded, the Junior Research Fellowship by the U.G.C. in 1976.  Apart from research papers, articles and scripts on philosophical topics, he delivered lectures on Philosophy of Science.  Starting his career as Demonstrator in Physics (1969-71) at A.J. College, Sivakasi, he retired as the Head of the Department of Philosophy, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College, Chennai in 2006.  His main interests are Ethics, Psychology, Western Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Vaisnavism.  He participated as symposiast at the 79th session of Indian Philosophical Congress, held at Madurai College, Madurai on Values in Education in 2004 and at the World Philosophical Congress, held at Delhi University, New Delhi on Justice in 2006.  The All India Sattada Srivaisnava Association has conferred on him the title “Vaisnava Kula Bhusana” for his original contribution to Vaisnavism.  He was the Director of the National Seminar on "Indian Philosophical Heritage: A Re-understanding" in 2006, sponsored by Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), New Delhi, held at R.K.M. Vivekananda College, Chennai.

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Bibliographic information

Title Reflection on Bergson's Philosophy
Format Hardcover
Date published: 08.09.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788188934492
length x+222p., References; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.