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This is a book about evolution – from a post-Darwinian perspective. It recounts the core ideas of one of the great French philosophers, Henri Bergson (1859-1941), and his rediscovery and legacy in the poststructuralist critical philosophies of the 1960s onwards. It explores the confluences of these approaches with the foundational ideas of complexity theory and complex adaptive systems in environmental biology. The failings in the development of systems theory, many of which complex systems theory overcomes, are retold; with Bergson, this book proposes, some of the rest may be overcome too. It asserts that Bergson’s ideas can further our understanding of evolution, and of complex systems, and aid the work of scientists working in the field of ecological complexity.

David Kreps is a sociologist of technology and philosopher of science. He is Senior Editor of the journal Information Technology and People, author of papers and conference presentations on social information systems, and is editor of Technology and Intimacy: Choice or Coercion, and Gramsci and Foucault: A Reassessment.

“This is no ordinary introduction to Henri Bergson. What David Kreps’ excellent study gives us is Bergson, complexe: first, because there is no simple way to take (or leave) Bergson’s ideas – his thought of durée, élan, and ‘multiplicity’ demands the most subtle and nuanced reading to give them their full justice; and second, because only by intertwining his ideas with the most up-to-date research in systems thinking, complexity theory, and poststructuralism can we begin to understand their absolute contemporaneity. Kreps’ work does all this and more – it gives us the Bergson we need for today.”

– John Mullarkey, author of Bergson and Philosophy

“Kreps’ book is a thoroughly researched and well-written work that shows how Bergson’s philosophy of evolution and time can also reinvigorate our ideas about complexity and organization in the natural and physical sciences.”

– Stephen Crocker, author of Bergson and the Metaphysics of Media