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Philospher. President, Society for Psychical Research, London, 1913-14. B. October 18, 1859, d., January 4, 1941, Paris. Agrégé de philosophe, 1881, docteur ès lettre, 1889: Sorbonne, University of Paris. Professor, Lycée Condorcet, 1881-97; lecturer, Ecole Normale Supérieure; professor, Collège de France, from 1900 until his death. Winner, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1927; member: Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, Académie; Française.

Bergson's philosophy, positive and imaginative, postulates that the world contains two opposing tendencies, life and matter. Life, he held, is the creative force, transcending matter, with which the intellect must deal. The relation between Bergson's philosophy and the concepts of psychical research is reflected in the speech he made on his inauguration as president of the SPR (SPR Proceedings, Vol. 27, 1914), which was later reprinted, under the title Phantasms of the Living and Psychical Research, in a collection of his essay and lectures (Mind - Energy; Amer. ed., 1920).

Concerning survial of bodily death, Bergson said: "The only reason man has to doubt the life hereafter is the visible death of the material body. This reason vanishes immediately the individual realizes the complete independence of thought and matter." He described his belief in the importance of psychical research in the latter pages of this book Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion (The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, 1932; Amer. ed., 1935).

Among his toher philosophical works, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, are Matière et Mémoire (Matter and Memory, 1987; Brit., Amer. eds., 1911; 5th Brit. ed., 1919); Le Rire (Laughter, 1900; Amer. ed., 1901); L'Evolution créatrice (Creative Evolution, 190; 13th ed., 1913; Amer. eds., 1907, 1911, 1944); L'Energie spirituelle (Spiritual Energy, 1920); Durée et Simultanéité à propos de la théorie d'Einstein (Duration and Simultaneity in Connection with Einstein's Theory, 1922); La Pensée et le Mouvant (Thought and Motivation, 1934).

Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications



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