[Henri Bergson] An Introduction to Metaphysics

  • Title: An Introduction to Metaphysics
  • Author: Henri Bergson
  • Translated: T. E. Hulme
  • Published: 1903
  • Publisher: Macmillan and Co. Limited, 1913

There are two ways of knowing a thing; Relative & Absolute.


  • Viewed from outside
  • Depends on the point of views and the symbols
    • Representation taken from a certain point of view (images)
    • Translation made with certain symbols (concepts)
  • Analysis
    • The process that reduces the objects to elements already known
    • A translation into other symbols or a representation from different perspectives
    • Operates on the immobile (at the instantaneous moment)
    • Cannot never reach to itself (always incomplete representation / imperfect translation)


  • Viewed from inside, in itself, perfection, organized, infinite
  • Can be given in an intuition
  • Intuition places itself in mobility (in duration)


  • Claims to dispense with symbols
  • Must transcend concepts in order to reach intuition
  • It is an error that we believe we can reconstruct the real with the fragments (symbolic representation) captured in a static moment.
  • Concepts may be extracted from the mobile reality, but we cannot reconstruct the mobility of the real with concepts
  • Philosophy and science claims this reconstruction of reality. It is an error. It is bound to fail.


  • By analysis
    • Multiplicity of successive state
    • Unity which binds them together
  • In intuition, time is a whole continuity accumulated from the past

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