Bergson, pan(en)theism, and ‘being-in-life’

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Recent philosophy has witnessed a renewed interest in the works and ideas of Henri Bergson (1859–1941). But while recent scholarship has sought to rehabilitate Bergson’s insights on time, memory, consciousness, and human freedom, comparatively little attention has been paid to Bergson’s relationship to pantheism. By revisiting the ‘pantheism’ controversy surrounding Bergsonian philosophy during Bergson’s lifetime, this article argues that the pantheistic notion of ‘being-in-God’ can serve as an illuminating framework for the interpretation of Bergson’s philosophy. By examining the ‘pantheist’ readings of Bergson and comparing and contrasting Bergson’s philosophy of life with Spinoza’s panentheistic metaphysics, this paper shows that an account of ‘being-in-Life’ is key to Bergson’s metaphysical outlook as well as his account of philosophy as a practice of ‘intuitive’ thinking. In so doing, this paper highlights some of the implicit religious motifs in not only Bergson’s metaphysical outlook but also his conception of the task of philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-307
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Henri Bergson
  • Metaphysics
  • Panentheism
  • Pantheism
  • Vitalism


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