Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael V. Murray

Second Advisor

Lottie H. Kendzierski

Third Advisor

Francis J. Collingwood

Fourth Advisor

John O. Riedl


Les Deux Sources de la Morale et de la Religion is not a book to leave one indifferent; it has evoked a lively response in almost everyone who has ever read it. Those who are persuaded by its argument or inspired by its message are likely to echo the enthusiasm of Georges Cattaui who lauded it as one of the greatest and wisest books conceived by philosophers. Even those who take exception to the moral and religious doctrine it expounds are impelled to acknowledge its importance. It was in discussing Les Deux Sources, for example, that Jacques Maritain was moved to call Bergson's philosophy one of the most daring and profound of our time. In the light of such tributes, it would seem that a study of Bergson's thought could not but be an enlightening and valuable experience.

When I first picked up Les Deux Sources, I turned out of curiosity to the last page and behold these words, "the a machine for the making of gods." Bergson was an evolutionist, but surely this was no ordinary evolutionist speaking, I thought. What must be the moral philosophy of a man who would write these words? Such is the question with which we shall be concerned in this thesis, devoting particular attention to Bergson's doctrine of moral obligation, which we shall examine and trace back to its source in his theory of biological evolution.



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