Réforme politique et éducation: Un dialogue Godwin-helvétius sur la perfectibilité

Dialogue 46 (2):287-309 (2007)
This article analyzes the relation between Godwin (1756-1836), Republican and author of Politcal lustice (1793), and French philosophers, particularly Helvetius. Both Godwin and Helvetius were in favour of a political understanding of the theory of knowledge as opposed to an intellectual treatment of policy. They continually questioned the links between policy, history of the human understanding, and moral science from the perspective of the question of education. After the September Massacres (1792), Godwin’s thought changed radically and began to revolve around the notion of perfectibility. The final disagreement marked a distinction between French reformers, who advocated state control, and English writers, influenced by dissent and reformation, who held the idea of perfectibility.Cet article examine le rapport de Godwin (1756-1836), écrivain anglais «jacobin», auteur de Political Justice (1793), aux philosophes français, Helvétius en particulier. Partisans d’une politisation de la théorie de la connaissance plutôt que d’une intellectualisation de la politique, ils interrogent sans cesse, via la question de l’education, les liens du pouvoir politique, de l’histoire de l’entendement humain etde la science morale. Après les massacres de septembre (1792), la position de Godwin évolue considérablement et met en scène la perfectibilité. Le différend final marque la distinction entre un courant des Lumières françaises, réformatrices et étatistes, et un courant des Lumières anglaises, aux sources religieuses dissidentes ou réformées, porteuses, elles, de l’idée de perfectibilité
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DOI 10.1017/S001221730000175X
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