Henri Bergson. L’evoluzione creatrice e la filosofia della vita


  • Guido Cusinato
  • Enrica Lisciani Petrini
  • Donatella Pagliacci



When L'Évolution créatrice appeared in 1907, it was a genuine cultural event of extraordinary magnitude. The work was an immediate, resounding success, going beyond the narrow circles of philosophers and consigning Bergson to legendary status. Already in the title, by placing the concepts of 'evolution' and 'creation' side by side, Bergson withdraws the interpretation of the evolution of life forms from both the categories of traditional metaphysics – centred on an abstract and atemporal ideal Being – and those of the evolutionism of the time that were focused on the thesis of predetermined adaptation. 'Creation' is clearly differentiated from 'fabrication'. The latter presupposes the presence of pre-constituted data of reality that are subsequently composed on the basis of norms that are also already pre-constituted. By contrast, creation implies that nothing is ever already given: not even the possible, if understood – in the manner of Aristotle, Bergson's great polemical target – as something already destined for the act. So much so, that instead of 'possible', Bergson uses the term 'virtual', a term that alludes to a dimension that never exists and yet is the only locus from which a real is born, and with it the possible that will be retrospectively assigned to it. L'Évolution créatrice thus opens up a radically new perspective. It is something that we can only now understand in its full extent – thanks also to the new frontiers of physics and neo-evolutionism – and which explains why the thought of Bergson and L'Évolution créatrice remain a terrain of inexhaustible heuristic power. Hence the idea of devoting the present issue to this work. Precisely in order to demonstrate once again how, by confirming the importance of the thought of this French philosopher, it continues to expand, inspire and fertilise many areas of research in philosophy and beyond.