Bergson, Henri (1859–1941)
Henri Bergson was a French philosopher and writer who was the first exponent of process
philosophy. He reacted against the physcists' definition of time,
substituting a notion of experienced duration; rejected the psychophysical
parallelism of the day and asserted the independence of mind; and popularized
the idea of an élan vital, or creative force, at the heart of
evolution, rather than a deterministic natural selection. Together with
Hans Driesch in Germany, he advocated a return to a form of vitalism ('neovitalism') which, as Leonard Troland put it:1
... asserts that the phenomena
of life are not determined by law-abiding forces but by a form of activity
the effects of which are unpredictable, ... chaotic and beyond the range
Bergson was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature.
- Troland, L. "The Chemical Origin and Regulation of Life," The Monist, 24, 92 (1914).