From savages and barbarians to primitives: Africa, social typologies, and history in eighteenth–century French philosophy
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
History and Theory 36 (2):190–215 (1997)
This article describes the conceptual framework within which knowledge about Africa was legitimized in eighteenth-century French philosophy. The article traces a shift or rupture in this conceptual framework which, at the end of the eighteenth century, led to the emergence of new conditions for knowledge legitimation that altered Europe's perception of Africa. The article examines these two conceptual frameworks within the context of a discussion of the social theory of the time, which categorized Africans first as savages, and then, with the advent of our modern "style of reasoning," as primitives. The argument used to demonstrate this change in categorizations is historical. The greater part of the article analyzes in detail the principal social theory of Enlightenment philosophy, the stadial theory of society, with the aim of demonstrating how it determined what could be affirmed about Africa. The shift in the perception of Africans from savages to primitives involved an epistemological change in how societies were grasped. The article provides a greater understanding of the constitution of Africa as a cognitive construct, which is not only of theoretical concern; this construct shaped Europe's intervention in Africa, and continues to influence what we believe Africa is and should become
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Mark S. Cladis (2000). Redeeming Love: Rousseau and Eighteenth-Century Moral Philosophy. Journal of Religious Ethics 28 (2):221 - 251.
Rémy G. Saisselin (1965). Taste in Eighteenth Century France. Syracuse, N.Y.]Syracuse University Press.
Daniel Brewer (2008). The Enlightenment Past: Reconstructing Eighteenth-Century French Thought. Cambridge University Press.
Charles Vereker (1967). Eighteenth-Century Optimism: A Study of the Interrelations of Moral and Social Theory in English and French Thought Between 1689 and 1789. Liverpool University Press.
J. F. Bosher (1993). Book Reviews : Keith Michael Baker, Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990. Pp. 288, $54.50 (Cloth), $17.95 (Paper. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (1):125-127.
Knud Haakonssen (1989). The Theory of Progress in the Enlightenment. French and English Philosophy of History in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century. Philosophy and History 22 (2):158-161.
Downing A. Thomas (2002). Aesthetics of Opera in the Ancien Régime, 1647-1785. Cambridge University Press.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire & Denis Diderot (eds.) (1953). French Thought in the Eighteenth Century. New York, D. Mckay Co..
James Franklin (2006). Artifice and the Natural World: Mathematics, Logic, Technology. In K. Haakonssen (ed.), Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press
Kingsley Martin (uuuu/1963). French Liberal Thought in the Eighteenth Century. New York, Harper & Row.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #266,667 of 1,724,748 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #349,121 of 1,724,748 )
How can I increase my downloads?