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PH 467 - Preceptorial: Bergson's Evolutionary Philosophy


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the PH467 Preceptorial: Bergson's Evolutionary Philosophy. Covered in this guide are resources pertaining to the philosophy of Henri Bergson as well as the evolutionists that influenced his philosophy. The guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please contact the Philosophy Liaison Librarian.


Research Basics

The reference librarians have created a group of Web pages named Research Help to help teach you the basics of library research and to introduce you to Geisel Library. On the Research Help pages, you will find a guide on Research Basics and a helpful guide on evaluating Web resources titled, our guide on Evaluating Websites. Please take advantage of these resources.


Reference Resources

Search these resources for information on Henri Bergson as well as information on concepts such as élan vital, existentialism, time, memory, evolutionary ethics or key evolutionists like Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin, Jean Baptiste Lamarck, and Herbert Spencer, among others.

Electronic Reference Materials

Use the following electronic reference materials instead of wikipedia; These resources are full of quality information and are as easy to use as wikipedia. Make sure to try all three e-resources, this will give you a variety of perspectives on Bergson's Evolutionary Philosophy.

The following resources are restricted to the Saint Anselm College community.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)
Search through GVRL's collection of reference materials by individual title or search multiple titles at once. Titles of interest for the Bergson Preceptorial include:

Oxford Reference Online (ORO)
This growing collection of online subject encyclopedias provides in-depth articles on topics spanning a broad range of disciplines, with an emphasis on the social sciences. Browse individual encyclopedias or search multiple titles at once.

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
More than 2,000 articles from the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy are now available online, making this an excellent source of background information for research in philosophy and related fields.

Print Reference Materials

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics
     BH56 .E53

Encyclopedia of Evolution
     QH306.2 .E54

Encyclopedia of Philosophy
     B41 .E5

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
     H40 .I5


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Search Tips

To search the library catalogs and databases highlighted in this guide you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), truncation, and quotation marks to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use Boolean operators and truncation:

  • AND - use AND to link together search topics (philosophy AND evolution)
  • OR - use OR to link together synonyms or like concepts (perception OR intuition)
  • * - use truncation to pull up the root of a word with variant endings (Type darwin* to pull up items with the words darwin, darwinian, darwinism, etc.)

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Subject Heading and Keyword Searching

There are two main ways to search the library catalogs and databases, by subject heading and by keyword. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, it is important therefore to know the best time to use each method.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are keywords that are assigned to books and articles that capture the item's key subject matter and themes. Use subject headings to look for materials on broad concepts such as the philosophy of mind or books on evolutionary ethics. The method of searching by subject heading will vary depending on what catalog or database you are using, please contact the Philosophy Liaison Librarian if you need assistance in using the subject heading search functions.

Keyword Searches

Keyword Searches work best if you are researching a narrow concept for example, examining how the concept of time is approached by various philosophers. Keyword searches will look for your search term(s) in the citation, subject headings, abstract, and chapter titles (if available).


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Finding Books/Secondary Sources

Geisel Library Catalog
The first step when looking for books is to search the Geisel Library Catalog. Remember that you can search by keyword or by subject heading.

The list of subject heading and keyword searches listed below are only examples; Geisel Library has a wealth of information related to the philosophy of Henri Bergson, make sure to construct your own subject heading and keyword searches to access information on your topic.

Subject Heading Searches

Keyword Searches

If you searched the Geisel Library Catalog but could not locate a book on your topic try searching WorldCat, a database that allows you to search the collections of libraries throughout the United States. If you find a book that you want you can request it through interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on the ILL icon in the book's catalog record. Please be aware that items requested through WorldCat can take a week to two weeks to be delivered, it is important therefore to request books through WorldCat early in the research process.


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Finding Journal Articles

The following databases will help you locate scholarly research in the field of philosophy. When examining your search results you may come across the WebBridge icon. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

Core Philosophy Databases

Philosopher's Index
The premier international resource in philosophy, this database contains over 160,000 citations with abstracts to journal articles as well as books (1940-present). Keep in mind that this is an abstract only database; you will need to use WebBridge to locate the full text.

Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is an interdisciplinary database that provides abstracts and some full-text for a range of academic areas, including art and philosophy.

Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including: Mind, The Journal of Philosophy, and Philosophical Issues. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.

Project MUSE
Project MUSE provides full text access to more than 200 journals in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences. As an interdisciplinary database you will be able to pull up research on your topic from a variety of different disciplines. Titles of interest for this course include: Hypatia, Journal of the History of Philosophy, and MLN.

Additional Databases

Use SocINDEX to find articles that examine the influence that Bergson and evolutionists have on society.

American History and Life (North American history)
Historical Abstracts (Non-U.S. history)
Use America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts to examine Bergson and evolutionist theories and concepts within a historical framework.


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Selected Internet Resources

Searching the Internet can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find. To learn more, see our guide on Evaluating Websites.

If when searching the Internet, you locate references to books or articles that you would like to view please check with a reference librarian to see if the items can be located in Geisel Library's print or electronic collection or through Interlibrary Loan.

Philosophy Search Engines

Use the following customized search engines to search only those websites that contain scholarly research in the field of philosophy.

Intute: Arts and Humanities
University of Oxford and Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Evansville

University of Hong Kong

Philosophy Websites

Nobel Prize in Literature 1927
View biographical and bibliographical information on Bergson as well as the Nobel Prize presentation and banquet speeches made for his receipt of the 1927 Noble Prize in Literature.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Use the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy to access peer-reviewed essays on philosophers and philosophical topics. Below are links to sample entries:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Search the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by keyword or by browsing their table of contents. Make sure to take advantage of the links to related entries and the bibliographic references at the end of entries. Below are links to sample entries:

Digital Book Collections

Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg allows you to read digitized versions of books for free on its website. Search by author, title, or genre to locate a book of your choosing. To search by genre, click the Bookshelf link on the left side of the screen. Books are limited to those works that are no longer copyright protected.

Links to works written by Bergson as well as a sample of evolutionists can be found below:

Google Book Search
Google Books also lets you read digitized books on its website. Full text books are limited to those works that are no longer copyright protected.

Links to works written by Bergson as well as a sample of evolutionists can be found below:

Evolution/Evolutionist Websites

Use the following websites to gather information on various evolutionist thinkers and the overall history of evolution and evolutionary thought.

The Alfred Russel Wallace Page
Charles H. Smith - Western Kentucky University

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online
Cambridge University

A History of Evolutionary Thought
University of California Museum of Paleontology

The Huxley File
Clark University

Jean Baptiste Lamarck Works and Heritage (French and English)
University of Paris and Oxford University

Understanding Evolution
University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education


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Citing Sources

Geisel Library has both print and electronic resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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