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The Introduction to Metaphysics

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The basic principles that Bergson articulates, especially his way of thinking about reality as a dynamic process and his view of human beings as creative and evolving, should be helpful to anyone who seeks to go beyond simply dealing with the practical demands of daily life and consider the nature of things. Of special importance is Bergson’s claim that it is both possible and necessary to know from the inside rather than confining our attention to external perspectives and points of view. Intuition is able to get beyond what is relative and place us inside reality. This essay is, as the title says, an introduction. But if we think there is more to a human being—and even to nature itself—than material structures alone, perhaps the time has come to take a fresh look at Bergson’s essay. In An Introduction to Metaphysics, Bergson traces the demise of metaphysics to the failure of both scientific materialism and dogmatism and to the immense success of a kind of pragmatism that promised liberation from the fruitless battles among various schools of philosophy. He also rejects relativism and criticizes the vacuum that is created when philosophers refuse to inquire about the nature of reality. To avoid metaphysics easily leads to a worldview shaped by unexamined ideas and hidden presuppositions.
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