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Bergson and William James

Dunham, Jeremy (2021) 'Bergson and William James.', in The Bergsonian Mind. London: Routledge.


In this chapter, I show that Bergson’s philosophy had a significant impact on the development of James’s thought. Although many commentators have denied this, including Bergson himself, this is because they have not realised just how much James’s philosophy changed in the last few years of his life. Those who deny the influence, including Bergson himself, often do so because, correctly, they see only a superficial similarity between James’s theory of the ‘stream of thought’ (at least as found in his early works), and Bergson’s theory of duration. However, Bergson’s work from 1903 onwards, and his 1907 L’Évolution créatrice in particular, convinces James to make some hugely important changes to his understanding of the stream of consciousness. The aim of this chapter is to provide a sketch of these changes.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 01 July 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Bergsonian Mind on 31 December 2021, available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 January 2022
Date of first online publication:31 December 2021
Date first made open access:01 July 2023

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