Locke in France: 1688-1734
Voltaire Foundation (1991)
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. Requires signed TDF. ;This thesis examines the influence and reception of John Locke in France and French-speaking communities in the period 1688 to 1734. We begin with the circumstances of the translation of Locke's works into French, a study of Locke's personal relationships and correspondence with French Protestants chiefly in the Low Countries, and a survey of early references to Locke in literary journals; these establish the initial patterns of dissemination of Locke's ideas. ;Four areas are then examined in detail: the use made of Locke by those writing on natural law, especially Jean Barbeyrac in his influential translations of Grotius and Pufendorf; Locke's contribution to debates on natural order of words in natural languages and on methods of Latin-teaching, chiefly in the work of Du Marsais; the Jesuit educator Claude Buffier and his use of, and reservations about, Locke in the context of educational theory and empirical philosophy; and Locke's place in the debate, set by Cartesian and scholastic traditions, about metaphysical and epistemological questions such as animal souls and thinking matter. ;Voltaire forms the focus of the conclusion: his own study of Locke and his presentation of Locke's ideas are examined by means of his own correspondence and of a detailed study of the Lettres philosophiques and immediate responses to them in literary circles. We conclude that, although Voltaire was not the first French-speaking writer to discover and use Locke, he did importantly popularise Locke by presenting him coherently and comprehensibly
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