SUPPLEMENTARY PIECES
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
OF HENRI BERGSON (1930)
This book originated in an article that appeared in the Revue de Mé-
taphysique et de Morale in 1928 entitled, “Prolegomena to Bergson’s Phi-
losophy.” 1 It sought less to give an exposition of Bergson’s philosophy than
to make it understandable. There is no lack of faithful and solid exposi-
tions, and it would have seemed useless to me to repeat once more what
Mr. Bergson has said with such admirable clarity in books that are acces-
sible to everyone. I deci ded that the study of a contemporary theory, and
one so profoundly engaged in the intellectual life of our country, did not
call for as “historical” a method as the study of ancient theories. Treating
of a writer in our language, still mixed up in current philosophical devel-
opments, there is no special merit in clearly exposing ideas everyone is
familiar with: there are no sources to be discovered here, no philological
problems to be discussed. It will come as no surprise, then, that in this
book, commentary and critical interpretation take up a scandalous amount
of space. Besides, every time citation turns into commentary, the reader is
warned of the shift and cannot be mistaken.
To conclude, I have to say that despite appearances, this book is not
an “apology” of Bergson’s philosophy. Our happy age does not lack strong
minds. The salons have become very anti- Bergsonian, and the Prophets
that abound among us have proclaimed the bankruptcy of “intuitionism.”
But that is quickly said. The scrupulous reader, the one truly vaccinated
against intellectual trifling, disregards these prophets and their exorcisms.
What am I to do about it? It’s not my fault if greater familiarity with
Bergson’s philosophy multiplies the reasons one has for admiring it.
Paris, April 1930
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