François Lamy, a Benedictine monk and Cartesian philosopher whose extensive relations with Arnauld, Bossuet, Fénélon, and Malebranche put him into contact with the intellectual elite of late-seventeenth-century France, authored the very first detailed and explicit refutation of Spinoza’s Ethics in French, Le nouvel athéisme renversé. Regrettably overlooked in the secondary literature on Spinoza, Lamy is an interesting figure in his own right, and his anti-Spinozist work sheds important light on Cartesian assumptions that inform the earliest phase of Spinoza’s critical (...) reception in the seventeenth-century. I begin by presenting Lamy’s life and the contentious state of Spinoza’s French reception in the 1680 and 1690s. I then discuss a central argument in Lamy’s refutation, namely the Cartesian objection that Spinoza’s account of the conceptual independence of attributes is incompatible with the theory of substance monism. Contrasting Lamy’s objection with questions put to Spinoza by de Vries and Tschirnhaus, I maintain that by exhibiting the direction Spinoza’s views on substance and attribute took in maturing we may accurately assess the strength of Spinoza’s position vis-à-vis his Cartesian objector, and I argue that, in fact, Spinoza’s mature account of God as an expressive ens realissimum is not vulnerable to Lamy’s criticism. In conclusion, I turn to Lamy’s objection that Spinoza’s philosophy is question-begging in view of Spinoza’s account of God, and I exhibit what this point of criticism tells us about the intentions of the first French Cartesian rebuttal of the Ethics. (shrink)
Taking its cue from François Bernier’s Voyages and focusing on the assumptions that stand in the background of Immanuel Kant’s view of the encounter between Christianity and Hinduism, this text endeavors to bring to light the theoretical framework that shaped the dialogue between the West and the East since the 18th century. The author’s contention is that the way that Western philosophy has tended to conceive of universal values has been one of the fundamental obstacles that has hindered a (...) genuine cross-cultural conversation in this sense. (shrink)
In this paper published in Slovenian, i argue that Jean-François Lyotard could probably not have written his groundbraking book Le Différend in the eighties of the 20th century without having had his Algerian experience as a young teacher there. Lyotard was member of the group of leftist intellectuals "Socialisme ou barbarie" (also name of a journal they issued) around Cornelius Castoriadis. Understanding the "Other" and the relationship between the subject and the "Other" is essential to the line of thought (...) that Lyotard developped in Le Différend. See his book La guerre des Algériens. (shrink)
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often considered to be the father of postmodernism. Here leading experts in the field of cultural and philosophical studies, including Barry Smart, John O' Neill and Victor J. Seidler, tackle many of the questions still being asked about this controversial figure.
_Criticism and Conviction_ offers a rare opportunity to share personally in the intellectual life and journey of the eminent philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Internationally known for his influential works in hermeneutics, theology, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics, until now, Ricoeur has been conspicuously silent on the subject of himself. In this book--a conversation about his life and work with François Azouvi and Marc de Launay--Ricoeur reflects on a variety of philosophical, social, religious, and cultural topics, from the paradoxes of political power to (...) the relationship between life and art, and life and death. In the first of eight conversations, Ricoeur traces the trajectory of his life, recounting the origins of his convictions and the development of his intellect against the tragic events of the twentieth century. Declaring himself the "son of a victim of the First World War," Ricoeur, an orphan, sketches his early years in the house of stern but loving grandparents, and the molding of his intellect under the tutelage of Roland Dalbiez, Gabriel Marcel, and André Philip. Ricoeur tells the intriguing story of his capture and five-year imprisonment by the Germans during World War II, where he and his compatriots fashioned an intellectual life complete with a library and lectures, and where he, amazingly, was able to continue his dissertation research. Elegantly interweaving anecdotal with philosophical meditations, Ricoeur recounts his relationships with some of the twentieth century's greatest figures, such as Heidegger, Jaspers, and Eliade. He also shares his views on French philosophers and explains his tumultuous relationship with Jacques Lacan. And while expressing his deepest respect for the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Michel Foucault, Ricoeur reserves his greatest admiration for the narratologist Algirdas Julien Greimas. Ricoeur also explores the relationship between the philosophical and religious domains, attempting to reconcile the two poles in his thought. And readers who have struggled with Ricoeur's work will be grateful for these illuminating discussions that provide an invaluable key to his writings on language and narrative, especially those on metaphor and time. Spontaneous and lively, _Criticism and Conviction_ is a passionate confirmation of Ricoeur's eloquence, lucidity, and intellectual rigor, and affirms his position as one of this century's greatest thinkers. It is an essential book for anyone interested in philosophy and literary criticism. (shrink)
The origins of philosophy of education as a discipline are relatively late, and can be traced in the Anglo-American academic world from the 1960s and a specific emphasis on conceptual problems deriving from the analytical tradition of philosophy. In more recent years, however, there has been a notable ‘Continentalist’ turn in the discipline, leading to a re-evaluation of key texts and philosophers from the French and German traditions and their relation to the discourse of education. One paradigmatic example here is (...) the work of the French postmodernist thinker Jean-Francois Lyotard. In this essay, I explore how Lyotard’s powerful critique of education in his early work, especially with regard to his influence on the May ‘68 events at Nanterre University, can be seen as crucially important, now again, to a current crisis in educational philosophy in the Western world. Moreover, Lyotard’s post-’68 work, with his paradigmatic The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge as especially important, can be seen as providing a very challenging riposte to both ‘managerialist’ and instrumentalist philosophies on the one side but also to overly simplistic ‘liberatory’ educational critiques on the other side. (shrink)
There is a long-standing view that Malebranche and his fellow occasionalists accepted occasionalism to solve the problem of interaction between immaterial souls and extended bodies. Recently, however, scholars have shown this story to be a myth. Malebranche, Geulincx, La Forge, and Cordemoy adopted occasionalism for a variety of reasons, but none did so because of a need to provide a solution to a perceived mind-body problem. Yet there is one Cartesian for whom the “traditional” reading is largely on the mark. (...)François Lamy argues in the second volume of his De la Connoissance de Soi-Meme much as the standard story has it. In this article I discuss and analyze Lamy’s argument, showing how he deals with some of the many concerns that made occasionalism attractive, and how he brings out some of the thorny questions that an occasionalist must face. (shrink)
Georges Canguilhem, A Vital Rationalist: Selected Writings from Georges Canguilhem, edited by François Delaporte and translated by Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Pp. 481. ISBN 0-942299-72-8. £24.25, $36.25.
Fragments presents a set of brilliantly intriguing interviews with Jean Baudrillard whose work today occupies center stage in the analysis of consumerism, terrorism, and contemporary culture. In these frank discussions with François L'Yvonnet, Baudrillard reveals for the first time in detail the thinkers who have been the dominant influences on his work during his career. Instead of examining his work as a project of intellectual accumulation, he challenges all the major interpretations of his work by suggesting he has always (...) adopted an anti-system, anti-totality strategy. Even globalization is accompanied in his view by a Western culture which itself is no longer a well-founded confident universalism. Perhaps most interestingly, Baudrillard discusses his life's work in relationship to his contemporaries -- Bataille , Barthes, Lyotard and Deleuze - and explores his position as an outsider in the field of French philosophy. Baudrillard in these interviews is in sparkling form, and in his ownwords he presents not only a lively introduction to this great thinker but also gives readers a window into a brilliant mind. (shrink)
The existence of a genetic program of development was proposed by molecular biologists in the nineteen-sixties. Historians and philosophers of science have since thoroughly criticized this notion. To fully appreciate its significance, it is interesting to consider the research which was pursued during this period by molecular biologists who proposed this notion. This study focuses on François Jacob's work and on the model of development supported by his lab in the early seventies, the T-complex model. This episode of Jacob's (...) scientific activity has since been forgotten. Characterization of this model shows that the notion of program was used in a metaphoric way and that it did not put any constraint on the work pursued in the lab at that time. Some attention is devoted to the origin of this metaphor in the context of the nineteen-seventies. (shrink)
The distinguished philosopher of language, Francois Recanati, has proposed a wide-ranging truth-conditional model of pragmatics. In this collection, various aspects of his theories are addressed by distinguished contributors, and are then commented on or answered by Recanati himself. This allows the reader to be drawn into the central debate within philosophy of language and cognitive science as to what kind of pragmatics system is needed.
The following interview of Mark William Westmoreland with Anthony Paul Smith–well-known scholar and translator of François Laruelle –considers both implications and extensions of Laruelle's non-philosophy for contemporary thought. Smith has helped bring about a surge of interest in Laruelle due to his many translations of his texts as well as being the author or co-editor of several books on Laruelle. Discussed are in particular the difficulties and joys of translating and the usefulness of Laruelle's thought for Smith's own work, (...) especially in environmental and animal studies. Also considered are some themes of non-philosophy, the adaptability of Laruelle's thought for various disciplines, as well as new paths for Laruelle studies –new, unforeseen landscapes and uses of non-philosophy –that explore social phenomena such as race, racism, sexism, victim a.o. (shrink)
Neither art criticism nor a scholar’s monograph on an artist, Jean-François Lyotard’s Sam Francis: Lesson of Darkness: ‘like the paintings of a blind man’ is a reflection that engages both the painter and 43 of his works into a conversation alternating painting and aphoristic writing. Their order follows neither the chronology of the works nor a linear argument in the prose. And yet, the work generates the strongest feeling of there being a continuity in this peculiar dialogue of pictures (...) and poeticism, a continuity not clearly presented by logic, but one concerning what remains unpresented in presentation. The conversation is revelatory of their shared concerns with the energetic force of absence and is fascinating. (shrink)
Claire Katz & Lara Trout, Emmanuel Levinas. Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers ; Thomas Bedorf, Andreas Cremonini, Verfehlte Begegnung. Levinas und Sartre als philosophische Zeitgenossen ; Samuel Moyn, Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics ; Pascal Delhom & Alfred Hirsch, Im Angesicht der Anderen. Levinas’ Philosophie des Politischen ; Sharon Todd, Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis and ethical possibilities in education ; Michel Henry, Le bonheur de Spinoza, suivi de: Etude sur le spinozisme de Michel (...) Henry, par Jean-Michel Longneaux ; Jean-François Lavigne, Husserl et la naissance de la phénoménologie. Des Recherches logiques aux Ideen: la genèse de l’idéalisme transcendantal phénoménologique ; Denis Seron, Objet et signification ; Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa and Hans Ruin, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation. Phenomenology in The Nordic Countries ; Dimitri Ginev, Entre anthropologie et herméneutique ; Magdalena Mărculescu-Cojocea, Critica metafizicii la Kant şi Heidegger. Problema subiectivităţii: raţiunea între autonomie şi deconstrucţie. (shrink)
Etienne-François Geoffroy, l’un des chimistes français les plus importants du début du XVIIIe siècle, entretenait des relations régulières avec l’Angleterre. Il était chargé de développer les échanges entre l’Académie royale des sciences et la Royal Society de Londres. Quand il publia sa « Table des rapports entre les substances chimiques » en 1718, Fontenelle et quelques autres lui reprochèrent d’avoir introduit en chimie le système des attractions newtoniennes. Mais en fait, Geoffroy s’est toujours tenu à l’écart aussi bien du (...) mécanisme cartésien que du newtonianisme, le recours aux expériences et à la littérature alchimique constituant ses seules sources d’inspiration. Geoffroy apparaît ainsi comme le représentant d’une chimie empirique, soucieuse de conserver l’autonomie de sa discipline. (shrink)
This is an essay about language, thought, and culture in general, and about Ancient Greek and Classical Chinese in particular. It is about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which says that language influences the mind, and applies this hypothesis to Greek and Chinese. It is also an essay in comparative philosophy as well as a contribution to the history of ideas. From the language side, I rely on the nineteenth-century German linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and from the culture side on the contemporary (...) French sinologist François Jullien. Combining their ideas, I give substance to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and explain some of Jullien's claims about the historical and political developments of Chinese culture. The central .. (shrink)
Vergänglichkeitsthematisierungen sind in den Romanen Houellebecqs omnipräsent. Doch in welchen Kontexten erscheinen sie, was ist ihre Funktion, und inwiefern sind sie mit barocken Vanitas-Szenarien vergleichbar? Im Zentrum des Aufsatzes steht die Frage, inwiefern die Vanitas-Thematisierung bei Houellebecq im Zusammenhang steht mit einer Statuszuschreibung an die Literatur – und welche Konsequenzen daraus für das Bedeutungspotential seiner Romane abzuleiten sind. Das Zusammenspiel von Vanitas-Szenarien im Werk und Vanitas-Performanz des Autors jenseits seines Werkes lässt gerade vor dem Hintergrund der frühen poetologischen Überlegungen in (...) Gegen das Leben, gegen die Welt ein Literaturverständnis Houellebecqs hervortreten, das im politischen Sinne höchst zweifelhaft ist. Unterwerfung erweist sich als postmoderne Erbauungsliteratur, die ihren Leser irritiert mit der Frage zurücklässt, ob er sich von François emanzipieren sollte – oder ob er einfach nur liest. (shrink)
When asked by students taking Chinese Philosophy classes with me what I can recommend as reading material, I usually say, among other things, anything written by François Jullien. Thankfully, with Vital Nourishment: Departing from Happiness, there is now a new title available in English translation to add to this list. As with the works of most philosophically inclined writers whom I like, this book by Jullien does not really say much that has not already been said by him, at (...) least implicitly, in previous publications. More or less "creative" writers, paradoxically, tend to produce variations of one or more themes and thus repeat themselves to a certain degree. That is, so to speak, the price one has to pay if one .. (shrink)
As Leibniz had hoped, the publication of his ‘Système nouveau de la nature et de la communication des substances...’ in 1695 provoked discussion of his metaphysics. Amongst the reactions was that of the French Benedictine, François Lamy, in his De la Connaissance de soi-même. It is not unusual to find the different editions of this work being confused, to the detriment of a proper understanding of the relation between Lamy’s texts and Leibniz’s. No doubt the rarity of copies of (...) De la Connaissance is at least partly responsible for this confusion, and it is because of that rarity that Lamy’s discussion of Leibniz is made available and reprinted here. (shrink)
François Viète is considered the father both of modern algebra and of modern cryptanalysis. The paper outlines Viète’s major contributions in these two mathematical fields and argues that, despite an obvious parallel between them, there is an essential difference. Viète’s ‘new algebra’ relies on his reform of the classical method of analysis and synthesis, in particular on a new conception of analysis and the introduction of a new formalism. The procedures he suggests to decrypt coded messages are particular forms (...) of analysis based on the use of formal methods. However, Viète’s algebraic analysis is not an analysis in the same sense as his cryptanalysis is. In Aristotelian terms, the first is a form of 'analysis,' while the second is a form of 'diaresis.' While the first is a top-down argument from the point of view of the human subject, since it is an argument going from what is not actual to what is actual for such a subject, the second one is a bottom-up argument from this same point of view, since it starts from what is first for us and proceed towards what is first by nature.Keywords: Analysis; Cryptanalysis; Algebra; Aristotle; Viète. (shrink)
This paper examines the self-measurement and self-tracking practices of a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Genevese pastor and pedagogical innovator, François-Marc-Louis Naville, who extensively used Benjamin Franklin’s tools of moral calculation and a lesser known tool, Marc-Antoine Jullien’s moral thermometer, to set a direction to his life and to monitor and improve his moral character. My contribution sheds light on how technologies of quantification molded notions of personal responsibility and character within an emerging utilitarian context. I situate Naville’s use of these tools within (...) his work as a pastor in a parish of the Republic of Geneva and within the Genevese and Swiss pedagogical reform movement of the early nineteenth century. I provide a detailed examination of how Naville used and adapted Franklin’s and Jullien’s tools of moral accounting for his own moral and religious purposes. Time, God’s most precious gift to man, served Naville as the ultimate measure of his moral worth. (shrink)
The focus of this paper is the intertextual relationship between the work of François Truffaut and that of Honoré de Balzac. It explores Balzac's influence on the shaping of Truffaut's voice and argues that Balzac's Human Comedy served Truffaut as a model for some of his cinematic innovations. This applies to Truffaut's total oeuvre, but particularly to his series of autobiographical films, ?The Adventures of Antoine Doinel?: The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cents Coups, 1959), Antoine and Colette, Love at (...) Twenty (Antoine et Colette, L'Amour à Vingt Ans, 1962), Stolen Kisses (Baisers Volés, 1968), Bed and Board (Domicile Conjugal, 1970), Love on the Run (L'Amour en Fuite, 1979). In examining Truffaut's ?rewriting? of Balzac, I adopt?and adapt?the intertextual approach of Harold Bloom's theory of the ?anxiety of influence.? My paper applies Bloom's concept of misreading to an examination of the relationship between Truffaut's autobiographical films, and Balzac's Human Comedy, both thematically and structurally. (shrink)
This paper examines the analysis of property regimes in the thought of the French philosopher, Francois Huet, as presented especially in his one major work on that subject, Le Regne Social du Christianisme . There, Huet developed his concern with social issues which began in the mid-1840s, when he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ghent. From 1846, he formed a study group of students now known as the ‘Huet Society’, which discussed social questions such as property rights (...) and inheritance, and considered various reform proposals in the works of Fourier, Proudhon, Saint-Simon and others. In the aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions, Huet resigned his Chair following an official campaign against his allegedly subversive views. From 1850 until his death in 1869, Huet lived in Paris where he concentrated on his studies, producing a large number of published works. Apart from Le Regne, those works were concerned principally with Catholic theology, at least until 1864 when Huet renounced his faith and sought to develop a version of pantheism. However, in La Science de l'esprit , which immediately preceded that renunciation, Huet restated at length and in virtually identical form the core argument of Le Regne. Even in one of his last works, La Revolution Religieuse , moreover, Huet expressed his continuing endorsement of its ‘fundamental idea’ of ‘a guarantee of property to all’, and argued that after fifteen years it was still in advance of current liberal critiques of property regimes. (shrink)
What is at stake for Jacob Klein in François Vieta’s analytical art is the birth of both the “modern concept of ‘number’ [Zahl], as it underlies symbolic calculi” and the expanded, in contrast to ancient Greek science, scope of the generality of mathematical science itself. Of the former, Klein writes that it “heralds a general conceptual transformation which extends over the whole of modern science”. The latter, he says, lends the “treatment” [πραγματεία] at issue in the ancient Greek mathematical (...) idea of a “‘general treatment’ [καθόλου πραγματεία]” “a completely new sense” “within the system of ‘science.’” The generality of this new sense will concern both the method and object of science in what will come to be known as universal mathematics. This transformation of the basic concept and scope, initially of mathematics and then of “the system of knowledge in general”, “concerns first and foremost the concept of ἀριθμόσ itself”. As a result of “its transfer into a new conceptual dimension” —i.e., into the dimension in which both “the concept of ‘number’ [Zahl]... is itself... as is that which it means” “symbolic in nature”—a transfer that “becomes visible” “for the first time in Vieta’s ‘general analytic,’” there follows “a thoroughgoing modification of the means and aims of science.” Klein maintains that what this modification involves is “best characterized by a phrase... in which Vieta expresses the ultimate problem, the problem proper, of his ‘analytical art’: ‘Analytical art appropriates to itself by right the proud problem of problems, which is: TO LEAVE NO PROBLEM UNSOLVED’.”. (shrink)
Jesuits in China adopted key Confucian terms to express Christian notions; for example, Tian 天 or Shangdi 上帝 was considered an equivalent for God, and guishen 鬼神 for angels. A Terms controversy started among the Jesuits and other missionaries and developed into the famous Rites Controversy. However, all the missionaries agreed in rejecting the Neo-Confucian concept of Taiji 太極, which was believed to be materialistic, pantheistic, or atheistic. The Flemish Jesuit François Noël, after a careful study of Neo-Confucian texts, (...) interpreted Taiji with the Western concept of nature, and even claimed that it held theistic meaning. We shall analyze and evaluate here this early Western attempt in giving a positive meaning to Taiji. (shrink)
Thérèse d'Avila a marqué de sa doctrine et de son ardeur l'Église des trois derniers siècles, au point qu'elle est devenue le modèle par excellence de la religieuse cloîtrée tout à la fois contemplative et fondatrice, écrivaine de premier rang, épistolière infatigable et maîtresse spirituelle. Suivant de près le livre de Marcelle Auclair, qui fit date dans le domaine des études thérèsiennes (La Vie de sainte Thérèse d'Avila, la dame errante de Dieu, Le Club du meilleur livre, 19..
According to François Laruelle, French thought has been unduly influenced by corpuscular or atomist thinking, yet Laruelle has himself employed key atomist terms—in particular, that of the clinamen or swerve—in framing his own style of thought. This essay looks at this tension between atomism and anti-atomism in Laruelle’s thought, taking the measure of his contribution to a larger stream of postwar French thinking about the relevance and stakes of ancient atomism. Its contention is that Laruelle subtly but really outlines (...) a quantum theoretical resumption of ancient atomist philosophy—one that deserves closer attention and comparative study in the larger context of French philosophical interest in the atomists. A first section of the paper briefly describes Laruelle’s general project, along with his claim that he differs from his contemporaries because he uniquely escapes the dangers of what he calls corpuscular thought. A second section addresses the apparent tension between Laruelle’s claim to produce a non-corpuscular thinking and his consistent recent use of the atomist image of the clinamen, ultimately arguing that Laruelle sides with the clinamen against two forms of corpuscularity supposedly avoided by the clinamen itself but nonetheless usefully embodied in atomist thought. The final section of the paper draws up in preliminary terms a comparison between Laruelle’s understanding of his relationship to atomism and that of his contemporaries, focusing in particular on Alain Badiou. (shrink)
We are entering an era in which “cultural construction of the body” refers to a literal technological enterprise. This era was anticipated in the 1920s by geneticist J. B. S. Haldane in a lecture which inspired Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In that lecture, Haldane reinterpreted the Greek myth of Daedalus and the Minotaur as heroic fable. Seventy years later another geneticist, François Jacob, used the same myth as cautionary tale. Here I explain the Minotaur's “genetic” monstrosity in terms (...) of disability and hybridity, using the movie Gattaca to argue that ancient fears of monstrously disabled bodies are being recycled as bioethics. (shrink)
O presente artigo aborda a dimensão ética no pensamento de Jean-François Lyotard. Como conceito decisivo para essa relação, é aqui proposto o conceito de receptividade. Partindo dele, deseja-se mostrar que é possível reconstruir uma concepção de responsabilidade ética no pensamento do filósofo francês, a qual se coloca em sentido diametralmente oposto à concepção de autonomia: a obrigação ética se torna por conta disso afetiva, fundada e repousando na capacidade de se deixar falar. Com vistas a uma determinação mais acurada (...) dessa posição, serão consultadas as reflexões de Lyotard acerca da filosofia da linguagem em Le Differénd: a concepção do “acontecimento da fase” se deixa mostrar na ética do diálogo, que deixa espaço para a assimetria, alteridade e transformação. O pensamento do conflito insolúvel mostra-se como plenamente implicado com essa ética. This contribution examines the ethical dimension in the thinking of Jean-François Lyotard. It is shown that receptivity is crucial to its understanding. On these grounds, ethical responsibility can be conceived as fundamentally different from the standard conceptions of autonomy: ethical obligation has its sources in affection and is founded by a capacity of responsivity. This position is further developed by drawing on Lyotard ’s thoughts on language in Le Différend: the idea of a “sentence event” can be conceptualized within the framework of an ethics of dialogue, which leaves room for asymmetry, alterity, and transformation. The philosophy of the irreconcilable conflict turns out to be a form of ethics in this sense. (shrink)