chapter  Eight
25 Pages


WithMark Sinclair

Henri Bergson briefly reflects on the nature of art and aesthetic experience in the first chapter of Time and Free Will, in a passage which presents the outline of what we might term an aesthetics of suggestion. The perceived reality that art can reveal is therefore a reality inhabited and constituted by memory. In Time and Free Will Bergson elucidated a sense of human freedom prior to the availability of alternative possibilities by appealing to the production of art. Bergson claim contrasts with his later emphasis on genius, creativity and novelty in fine art. Fine-art production, as opposed to craft production, does not consist in the actualisation of a pre-given conceptual possibility. Bergson’s notion of artistic revelation is vague and requires elaboration, but it allows him to claim that art and philosophy derive from the same source. Bergson’s position on the nature of such retroactivity is, however, delicately poised.