Cover image for Matter and memory
Matter and memory
Bergson, Henri, 1859-1941.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Matière et mémoire. English
Publication Information:
New York : Zone Books, 1988.
Physical Description:
284 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Matière et mémoire.

Includes index.
Subject Term:


Format :

On Order



One of the major works of an important modem philosopher, Matter and Memory investigates the autonomous yet interconnected planes formed by matter and perception on the one hand and memory and time on the other. Henry Bergson (1859-1941) was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1927. His works include Time and Free Will, An Introduction to Metaphysics, Creative Evolution, and The Creative Mind.

Author Notes

Born in Paris in 1859 of Jewish parents, Henri Bergson received his education there and subsequently taught at Angers and Clermont-Ferraud before returning to Paris. He was appointed professor of philosophy at the College de France in 1900 and elected a member of the French Academy in 1914. Bergson developed his philosophy by stressing the biological and evolutionary elements involved in thinking, reasoning, and creating. He saw the vitalistic dimension of the human species as being of the greatest importance.

Bergson's writings were acclaimed not only in France and throughout the learned world. In 1927 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In defiance of the Nazis after their conquest of France, Bergson insisted on wearing a yellow star to show his solidarity with other French Jews.

Shortly before his death in 1941, Bergson gave up all his positions and renounced his many honors in protest against the discrimination against Jews by the Nazis and the Vichy French regime.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A reissue of the original English translation of the fifth edition of Bergson's out-of-print Matiere et Memoire (Paris, 1908), this book includes an introduction that he wrote for the authorized translation. Chapter subheadings included at the top of the page in the French oeuvres as well as in previous English translation have been eliminated, and the five illustrative figures have been changed in minor details. One reason to buy this book could be the useful 12-page bibliography added by Bruno Paradis. In the new index, philosophers might regret the omission of terms such as "abstraction," "appreception," "cause," and "will," while scientists might applaud the inclusion of terms such as "auditory image," "inextension," and "place." This classic is of interest to anyone dealing with any aspect of the mind-body relation. For general and advanced readers. M. C. Morkovsky Wadhams Hall Seminary-College

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Chapter I Of the Selection of Images for Conscious Presentation. What our Body Means and Doesp. 1
Real action and virtual actionp. 1
Representationp. 8
Realism and Idealismp. 14
The choice of imagesp. 17
Relation between representation and actionp. 35
The image and realityp. 45
The image and affective sensationp. 51
Nature of affective sensationp. 55
The image, apart from sensationp. 59
Natural extension of imagesp. 62
Pure perceptionp. 69
Approach to the problem of matterp. 73
Memoryp. 81
Chapter II Of the Recognition of Images. Memory and Brainp. 86
The two forms of memoryp. 86
Movements and Recollectionsp. 105
Recollections and movementsp. 118
Realization of memoriesp. 145
Chapter III Of the Survival of Images. Memory and Mindp. 170
Pure memoryp. 170
What the present isp. 176
The unconsciousp. 181
Existencep. 189
Relation of past and presentp. 191
Memory and general ideasp. 201
The Association of Ideasp. 212
The plane of action and the plane of dreamp. 217
The different planes of consciousnessp. 220
Attention to lifep. 225
Mental equilibriump. 227
The Office of the bodyp. 231
Chapter IV The Delimiting and Fixing of Images. Perception and Matter: Soul and Bodyp. 233
The problem of dualismp. 233
Description of the Methodp. 238
Indivisibility of movementp. 246
Real movementp. 254
Perception and matterp. 259
Duration and tensionp. 267
Extensity and extensionp. 277
Soul and bodyp. 291
Summary and Conclusionp. 299
Indexp. 333