Taking time seriously: the Bergsonism of Karin Costelloe-Stephen, Hilda Oakeley, and May Sinclair

Matyas Moravec*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the influence of Henri Bergson's (1859-1941) philosophy of time on three early twentieth-century British philosophers: Karin Costelloe-Stephen (1889-1953), Hilda Oakeley (1867-1950), and May Sinclair (1863-1946). I demonstrate that three central claims of Bergson's account of temporal experience (novelty, memory, and indivisibility) were creatively incorporated into their accounts of time. All these philosophers place time at the centre of their philosophical systems, so this study of their views on time and temporality can deepen our understanding of their systems more broadly. Further, this study helps us appreciate the reception of Bergson's thought in British philosophy after it was ferociously attacked by Bertrand Russell in 1912, and can provide more detailed contours on the joint fortunes of temporal experience and Bergson's thought in the history of twentieth-century philosophy. I conclude by emphasizing reasons why contemporary philosophers should pay particular attention to the three figures' treatment of Bergson.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date15 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2022


  • Time
  • Henri Bergson
  • Karin Costelloe-Stephen
  • Hilda Oakeley
  • May Sinclair


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