'The Two Sources of Morality and Religion'
By Henri Bergson (Author), R. Ashley Audra (Translator), Cloudesley Brereton (Translator)
“The book is filled with extraordinary illustration and, as always in Bergson, exact and luminous metaphor.”
(Journal of Philosophy )
“Fresh and living . . . this translation is first-rate.”
(New Statesman & Nation)
“Exquisitely simple . . . the English version startles one by its sheer beauty. Here is a volume crowning a series of philosophical works which have molded the thinking of a whole generation.”
“This book is so rich with historical, poetical, and human illustration, so packed with repeated psychological subtleties and dreaming precisions, that to miss it is to miss, as Bergson says of the prophets and Christian mystics, one of the voices of Life itself.”
"This book offers pleasurable access to an important way of thinking which dominant analytic and linguistic philosophical traditions in England and America have eclipsed, and which nonetheless still has current expression in many forms throughout contemporary culture."
Henri Bergson (1859-1941) was a renowned philosopher whose concept of creative evolution continues to dominate a large area of modern thought. In The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, Bergson inquires into the nature of moral obligation and into the place and purpose of religion.
The French philosopher Bergson was another of the famous critics of Hegelianism who developed what is called process philosophy and was one of the first to develop evolutionism in a philosophical form. He spent most of his life in Paris where he studied. Originally a follower of the mechanistic philosophy, he changed his view and began to distinguish between time and duration as seen in his famous work Time and Free Will: an Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. He defend- ed free will against determinism which Hegelian philosophy and certain other systematic philosophies of the period had asserted. Bergson also set out to show the relationship between body and mind in his Matter and Memory. In 1900 he became a professor at College de France where be was immensely popular among Catholics and also in other philosophical circles. During these years he wrote his most famous book called Creative Evolution which shows the influence of biology and Darwinian evolution upon him. He believed that the mechanism of evolution is what he called elan vital or vital impulse which brings about the process of change and transformation in nature.
Bergson's last work, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, discusses intelligence and intuition as the sources upon which both morality and religion are based. In this and other later works, Bergson drew closer to Catholicism and away from the elan vital concept. Because of his opposition to rationalism and ideological constructs of the 13th/ 19th century and his emphasis upon intuition, Bergson attracted the attention of a number of Muslim thinkers of the late thirteenth/nineteenth and fourteenth/twentieth centuries and such figures as Muhammad Iqbal have spoken often about him.
(Seyyed Hossein Nasr)