L'idée de critique chez Pierre Bayle

Pierre Bayle réalise une triple opération sur le concept de critique : 1. il généralise la critique ; 2. il lui donne le caractère d'instance où est établie la vérité ; 3. il en fait ainsi un tribunal particulier qui a son droit propre et ses procédures. Cette triple opération repose elle-même sur deux gestes. Le premier concerne le rapprochement de deux sens de la critique : la critique philologique et la critique publique. Le second geste concerne l'extension du champ de la vérité et de la certitude au domaine des faits, et plus seulement à celui de la raison. Pierre Bayle étend ainsi la méthode cartésienne à l'histoire. Cette extension hétérodoxe du cartésianisme joue un rôle notable, d'une part dans l'application des notions de vérité et de certitude au domaine des faits et, d'autre part, dans l'identification des notions de raison et de critique. Ces deux gestes de Bayle constituent un nouvel espace : l'espace intellectuel comme lieu de la critique, c'est-à-dire l'espace de la république des lettres. Pierre Bayle has accomplished a triple operation on the concept of criticism : 1. he has generalised criticism ; 2. he has given it the character of a trial which establishes the truth ; 3. he has thus made it into a special tribunal with its own law and procedures. This triple operation is itself based on two actions. The first is to do with the bringing together of two meanings of criticism : philological criticism and public criticism. The second concerns the extension of the field of truth and certainty to the realm of fact, and no longer simply that of reason. Pierre Bayle thus extends Cartesian method to apply it to history. This heterodox extension of Cartesianism plays a significant role, on the one hand in the application of notions of truth and certainty to the realm of fact, and on the other hand in the identification of notions of reason and criticism. Bayle's two actions constitute a new space : the intellectual space as the location of criticism, in other words, a space which is the republic of letters.
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Richard Henry Popkin (1966). Pierre Bayle Et l'Instrument Critique (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 4 (2):176-177.
Thomas M. Lennon (1999). Reading Bayle. University of Toronto Press.

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