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An Introduction To Metaphysics

            "If there exists a means of possessing a reality absolutely, instead of knowing it relatively, of placing oneself within it instead of looking at it from outside points of view, of having the intuition of it instead of making the analysis of it: in short, of seizing it over and above all expression, translation, or symbolical representation---metaphysics is that very means. Metaphysics is therefore the science which claims to dispense with symbols." Henri Bergson, from An Introduction to Metaphysics.
             In An Introduction to Metaphysics Henri Bergson presents a new method for philosophical investigation. Bergson's aim is to spark a revolution in the science of metaphysics. If metaphysics is possible Bergson believes that it can only be accomplished in an effort of intuition which inverts the habitual direction of the work of thought. The habitual direction of the work of thought towards knowing something consists in moving from concepts to a reality, whereby we know such only relatively, through the mediation of symbols through analysis. Bergson's claim is that when philosophizing in such a manner philosophers are incapable of penetrating into a reality. They are, rather, limited to adopting external viewpoints of a reality and expressing it through the symbolical representation of concepts. This, Bergson claims, condemns philosophy to an eternal disagreement between the various schools of thought who adopt differing viewpoints and concepts of a reality. But if we are able to invert the habitual direction of the work of thought towards knowledge we can move from reality to concepts, thereby penetrating into a reality through intuition and grasping it as it is in itself, that is, absolutely. For Bergson, metaphysics must transcend the relativity of concepts in order to reach this absolute of intuition.
             Before we continue we must further distinguish between the two above ways of knowing something; the first way of knowing something (the habitual way) being relative, the second, absolute (the inversion of the habitual way).

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