Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 November 2019
This chapter lays out the principal features of Bergson’s new conception of truth. Although not always foregrounded by Bergson (and consequently overlooked by commentators), the issue of truth is central for him. Like William James, Bergson rejects the correspondence theory of truth because the world we seek to describe is endlessly changing. Accordingly, truth is not discovered in a quest for knowledge: it is invented. To counter the charge that such an invented truth is subjective and arbitrary, Bergson, again like James, insists on its practical verifiability. But, unlike James, he does not stop there: he seeks to establish theoretical criteria as well. This has three consequences: an emphasis on the notion of problems in philosophy; a recasting of the theory of general ideas; and the elaboration of Bergson’s well-known theory of intuition. Against this background, the chapter presents the central achievement of Bergson’s theory of truth, namely that it shows how what is true can be new and how what is new can be true.