Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Time and Free Will” as Want to Read:
Time and Free Will
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Time and Free Will

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  528 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Internationally known and one of the most influential philosophers of his day (and for a time almost a cult figure in France, where his lectures drew huge crowds), Henri Bergson (1859-41) led a revolution in philosophical thought by rejecting traditional conceptual and abstract methods, and arguing that the intuition is deeper than the intellect. His speculations, ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Adamant Media Corporation (first published 1889)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Time and Free Will, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Time and Free Will

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  528 ratings  ·  31 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Time and Free Will
240716 this is a much later later addition: i have now read 'creative evolution' and must again suggest it is this book best to read first of all his work. it is also important to read 'matter and memory', which extends his thoughts on time with 'intensive multiplicity', and realize the ongoing difficulty to 'think time' when its 'quality' resists symbolic form. these are all engaging philosophical works...

110615 this is a much later addition: just put bergson's work on the modernists shelf,
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يمثل بيرغسون احد الوجوه المؤسسة للفلسفة الفرنسية المعاصرة , وقد بلور فكره بالاعتماد على تحليل نقدي للمناهج وللنتائج العلمية لعصره وتطمح فلسفته ذات الطابع الروحي الى ان تكون بمنزلة عودة واعية ومتعقلة الى معطيات الحدس والتي تمكننا وحدها من التطابق مع الحركة الحرة والهالة للحياة والروح وهذا الكتاب كان بداية مشروعه واول معالم نظريته الخاصة بالمعرفة
فالفلسفة الحيوية عند برجسون تري أن العقل بطبيعته عاجز عن تزويدنا بكل المعرفة، بإعتبار أنه لا يستطيع أن يمارس نشاطه إلا في مجال المادة أو ميدان الحس
Brian Kim
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never seen a philosopher that looks like his philosophy. Bergson appears incredibly comical because he has a face that's in a constant state of confusion, but the more you look at him the more you realize a hint of enlightenment within the tensions of his facial muscles. Perhaps what distinguishes Bergson from most philosophers today is his fashion for poetry, and paradoxes. it must be understood that Bergson is responding to the traditional Kantian notion of Time and Space, which ...more
Tony Poerio
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bergson reminds me of Borges in a lot of ways.

I'm sure he was a huge influence on JLB, and their writing shares similar qualities in my recollection.

Concise, precise, and often mind bending.

People will always write treatises on the nature of time.

And this book will always be a reference. Maybe it always was?
Agnes Fontana
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un commentateur n'a pas tort d'écrire que Bergson est quelque part entre Kant et Proust. Comme Kant, Bergson se demande par le biais de quelles catégories et formes préexistantes nous percevons les choses ; comme Proust, il étudie avec un certain détachement scientifique nos états internes. Bergson pense que nous avons une perception faussée de nos états internes, en les observantscomme des objets externes, c'est à dire en les projetant dans l'espace (qui suppose la juxtaposition) et dans la ...more
Frank Bierbrauer
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
An extremely interesting book. Bergson talks about the possibility that time is more than simply "a parameter in the equations", so to speak, as it is so often understood in science. For example in physics time is really nothing that truly creates anything. Time in physics is merely a re-arranger of otherwise independent pre-existing fundamental separate objects. For Bergson it is wholly creative, the engineer of novelty. In this text, Bergson's PhD thesis, he focuses mainly on what time means ...more
A brilliant, clear exposition on time. If you have never heard these Bergsonian ideas, they will be most exciting and revelatory.

Space admits simultaneity of events through their juxtaposition (two apples are place on the table), and pure duration (time) as an inner state of being admits succession through overlaying and contiguity of events (the feeling of juice in your mouth as you bite into one apple, then the sweetness on your tongue, and so on). Yet, when we talk about time, we talk about
Francisco Paniagua
¿Qué tiene que decir Henri Bergson sobre el problema de la libertad? ¿Está a favor del libre albedrío o del determinismo? En realidad, Bergson disuelve el problema apelando a un cuidadoso estudio de lo que entendemos por "libertad" y su vínculo con nuestros estados de conciencia más profundos.

El libro está estructurado en tres partes: Primero se ataca el problema de la intensidad de ciertos estados de conciencia ("experimenté mucho odio hacia esa persona", "hoy estoy más preocupado que ayer") y
Oakley Merideth
What am I supposed to get out of this volume? Bergson seems to delight in capturing the most benign intuitive acts/thoughts and ensnaring them in convoluted over-analysis. Good philosophy tries to uncover, deepen, discover, or question. Bad philosophy simply complicates. In this case Bergson’s conclusions are beyond timid and vague (“there are distinct approaches to understanding time and space!”) but he can only arrive at such a conclusion by way of torturous abstract exegesis of the quotidian. ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A little dense, either because of the translation, the ideas and thoughts, or both. However, there is true wisdom in these pages relating the propensity of humans to apply symbols to things internal and consequently replace those internal states with symbols, which can be used to make calculations and develop theories, when those internal states in and of themselves can never be isolated and replaced with symbols, and removed from their initial states of being.
Ben Kearvell
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
To understand Deleuze, one has to read Bergson.
Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
هذا الكتاب هو بالحيقية تمهيدا لنظرية المؤلف في المعرفة. يبحث الكتاب موضوع الوعي الذي نمتلكه وما يمثله لمعرفة الأنا.
Indrek Ojam
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Olen ikka tahtnud kirjutada kommentaari mõnele mitte-ilukirjanduslikule teosele, mis mind tugevalt puudutanud on. Henri Bergson on kahtlemata kõige inspireerivamaid mõtlejaid, keda lugenud olen. Olgu reservatsiooniks öeldud, et mu eriala ei ole küll filosoofia, vaid hoopis eesti kirjandus, aga olen lugenud kõiki Bergsoni eesti keelde tõlgitud tekste, lisaks hulga artikleid inglise keele vahendusel ja õppinud filosoofiat iseseisvalt ja ka ülikoolikursuste abiga mitu aastat.

“Essee teadvuse
Alex Lee
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, philosophy
Once again, Bergson takes us in another direction. He excels at pulling out the underlying relations that structure methodology. He exposes how we construct regular notions such as time, space, self and so on -- showing us that such terms are actually heterogeneous. That we assume that the formality of language and conception is what things are; ignoring the uncertainty and difference that characterizes how we consider ourselves in a constant becoming all of our own.

At the heart of this essay,
Kelsey Hennegen
Oh this is such an incredible work! The way he treats the true self and distinguishes it from the social self, his depiction of language and how naming a thing or a state makes it so explicit, discrete, concrete but that doesn’t really comport with the true potency of the feeling. About how we don’t experience discrete states, but emotion like a symphony intensifying, not a single instrument. Or like colors blending, bleeding into each other. He completely sees the integration of mind and body, ...more
Kai Schreiber
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
This ought to be a fascinating and very illuminating work; a philosopher looking into the venture of quantifying, measuring and modeling the mind. Unfortunately it hasn't aged particularly well, and while Bergson' insights occasionally are jarring, a lot of the time he is just meandering on about not much at all. But then the problems he chose to tackle - what is the nature of space and time, are experiences comparable or is that an artifact of language and spatial ordering intruding on any ...more
Dang, I wholeheartedly wish that I would have partaken of Bergson's brilliant, stimulating, clearly delineated, and yet still difficult-to-fully digest exposition upon the nature of time in human experience and existence—with strong pushback against Kant's conception of it as intermingled with extension in pure forms of intuition—ere I tackled Heidegger's punishing magnum opus. I read this seeing not only continuous linkages to the latter's influential onto-philosophy, but felt Bergson laid a ...more
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
What the? Time isn't space, but it is, but don't get confused because its not, only we can only define it in terms of space, but really it isn't linear in that way, in fact it is...not this example, whih illustrates how linear it is not though actually this example breaks down and underscores that it is linear, or though it not be linear, I can't explain it, but use your intuition. Got it? Good.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Love the introductory motto: If a man were to inquire of Nature the reason of her creative activity, and if she were willing to give ear and answer, she would say -- 'Ask me not, but understand in silence, even as I am silent and am not wont to speak.'

Wonderful exploration of time, free will, duration, space, heat, light, the attraction of pleasure. I like the depiction of two different selves: (1) the fundamental self; (2) its spatial and social representation: only the former is free.
Guido De
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Quite a difficult read. Too time consuming for the moment. Looking for a more accessible book on Bergson.

From the back cover:
HIs speculations, especially about the nature of time, had a profound influence on many other philosophers, as well as on poets and novelists; they are said to have been the seed for A la recherche de temps perdu by Marcel Proust (whose cousin was Bergson's wife).
Paola E. Haiat
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creo que, en realidad, no puedes jactarte de haber leído este libro hasta haberlo hecho unas tres veces.
Sin embargo, la primera está completada. Es muy interesante mirar la filosofía con un estilo tan cuidado. No me sorprende que haya sido premio Nobel de literatura en 1927, escribe impecablemente.
Y hay citas memorables en estas páginas.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
"It's really a rather beautiful philosophy" is how someone once described it to me; and it's a complicated text, but I like his mind, his approach to duree...of course, I would counter that time is not real.
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La tesi di laurea di Bergson, cugino di Proust.
Feb 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Reading this book has confirmed my theory that the only Great Books worth reading are already on the St. John's reading list. All others are excluded for a reason.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Bergson demonstrates that conscious experience is an ongoing flux.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I like a book that can refute determinist hegemony with effective argument and analysis. Bergson ought to get more attention than he does, in my opinion.
Vladan Krečković
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Book that completely changed my perception of space and time.
Jun 20, 2011 marked it as to-read
Way too thought-provoking for me at this moment in time. I will come back to this one as I think there are some great insights to be had.
Melissa Sara Smith
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Much easier to read than Matter and Memory.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ethics
  • Bergsonism
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • Under Fire
  • Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
  • Untimely Meditations
  • The Gay Science
  • The Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith, and a Search for the Soul
  • Spinoza: Practical Philosophy
  • Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  • The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time
  • Eminent Hipsters
  • The 120 Days of Sodom
  • Logical Investigations, Vol 1 (International Library of Philosophy)
  • Wittgenstein's Nephew
  • On War
  • Beyond the Pleasure Principle
  • German Ideology
See similar books…
Henri Bergson was one of the most famous and influential French philosophers of the late 19th century-early 20th century. Although his international fame reached cult-like heights during his lifetime, his influence decreased notably after the second World War. While such French thinkers as Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Lévinas explicitly acknowledged his influence on their thought, it is generally ...more
“The idea of the future, pregnant with an infinity of possibilities, is thus more fruitful than the future itself, and this is why we find more charm in hope than in possession, in dreams than in reality.” 101 likes
“[Duration is] the form which the succession of our conscious states assumes when our ego lets itself live, when it refrains from separating its present state from its former state.” 4 likes
More quotes…