Einstein against Bergson: Think Twice


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships


History of Science


In the Spring of 1922, two of the most important thinkers of that era met for the first time. Their meeting, which had been planned as a cordial and scholarly discussion, was anything but that. The physicist Albert Einstein and the philosopher Henri Bergson clashed during their face-to-face encounter, each defending opposing, even irreconcilable, ways of understanding time. This study revisits their debate to illuminate an essential piece of twenthieth-century European history. The confrontation between the two men is a missing piece in a puzzle that helps us understand many other important intellectual divisions in science and philosophy.