Bergson and Politics: Ottoman-Turkish Encounters with Innovation

Irem N.

EUROPEAN LEGACY-TOWARD NEW PARADIGMS, vol.16, no.7, pp.873-882, 2011 (AHCI) identifier identifier


This article seeks to explain how Bergson's philosophy was translated into a genuine political position in the Ottoman-Turkish context. I first overview the impact of Bergson's philosophy on continental politics at the beginning of the twentieth century; I then try to explain how Bergson's philosophical claims acquired definite political connotations; and lastly, I aim to display how political Bergsonism became a border language between republican radicals and conservatives in Turkey in the 1920s. I argue that, at the crossroads of all currents of European modernity, political Bergsonism heralded the birth of a new vision of conservative modernity that molded the underlying values and principles of the transformation of Turkey into a modern society.