Le présent article montre que s’il est totalement réducteur de considérer Descartes comme un mécaniste radical (le corps humain n’est pas un corps comme un autre puisqu’il est uni à une âme) et Kant comme un finaliste radical (l’explication scientifique en biologie sera, en dernier ressort, mécaniste) dans leur tentative respective d’explication du vivant, il est tout aussi réducteur de voir en Bergson unsimple critique du mécanisme. En effet, Bergson fait le «rêve», dans L’évolution créatrice , d’un «mécanisme de la (...) transformation» qui représente une réforme du mécanisme dont la condition de possibilité repose non seulement sur le progrès de la chimie, mais également et surtout sur celui des mathématiques modernes, plus précisément du calcul infinitésimal, seule méthode capable de saisir bjectivement le mouvement.When it comes to explaining life and living organisms, it is as insufficient to see in Descartes a proponent of radical mechanicism (the human body is not any sort of body since it is united with a soul) and in Kant a proponent of radical finalism (in biology, scientific explanations are in the last resort mechanicist), as it is to see in Bergson nothing other than an opponent of mechanicism. In fact in Creative Evolution Bergson “dreams” of a “mechanism of transformation” that should consist of a reform of mechanicism, the conditions of possibility of which are based not only on the progress of chemistry, but first of all on the progress of mathematics, and more precisely of infinitesimal calculus, the only method able to objectively grasp movement. (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)
Nous remercions Dolorès Lyotard et Herman Parret de nous autoriser aimablement à publier ici cette conférence inédite qui prend place dans l’itinéraire de Jean-François Lyotard une année après qu’il ait soutenu sa thèse de doctorat d’État Discours, Figure sous la direction de Mikel Dufrenne. Plusieurs interrogations sont..
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Despite its title, Jean-François Courtine’s Archéo-Logique. Husserl, Heidegger,Patočka (henceforth AL), is mostly—if not exclusively—a book devoted to Heidegger. This is readily apparent in the table of contents: seven (chapters II-VIII) of the nine studies gathered in this volume deal entirely with Heidegger; one (chapter I) works through Heidegger’s notion of “Destruktion” with reference to Natorp’s “Rekonstruktion”; and only the concluding essay (chapter IX) focuses on Patočka’s a-subjective phenomenology and its criticism of Husserl. As for the “Introduction”, the only name (...) mentioned is, again, Heidegger’s. And when it comes to the historical context covered in the book, the author summarizes: “From the Natorp–Bericht to the Gespräch von der Sprache, these are the two extreme boundaries within which the following studies are included” (p. 9).Yet such an explicit restriction to Heidegger does not do full justice to the actual scope of this book. In fact, one of the most important co. (shrink)
By comparing the insights of Jean-Francois Lyotard on various manifestations of the science question with feminists such as Luce Irigaray and Donna Haraway certain compromising contradictions in Lyotard's overall discourse are revealed.
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)
Summary The paper follows the lives of Mateu Orfila and François Magendie in early nineteenth-century Paris, focusing on their common interest in poisons. The first part deals with the striking similarities of their early careers: their medical training, their popular private lectures, and their first publications. The next section explores their experimental work on poisons by analyzing their views on physical and vital forces in living organisms and their ideas about the significance of animal experiments in medicine. The last (...) part describes their contrasting research on the absorption of poisons and the divergences in their approaches, methods, aims, standards of proof, and intended audiences. The analysis highlights the connections between nineteenth-century courtrooms and experimental laboratories, and shows how forensic practice not only prompted animal experimentation but also provided a substantial body of information and new research methods for dealing with major theoretical issues like the absorption of poisons. (shrink)
Discourse, Figure signifies an event. I mean this in a variety of ways. There has been a recent event: the publication of an English translation of Jean-François Lyotard’s first major book. Its translation is an event forty years delayed and signifies the closing of a major gap in the translation of Lyotard’s work. Of course, both “signify” and “event” are important words for Lyotard. Discourse, Figure’s goal is to “signify the other of signification” (2011, 13, emphasis his). The question (...) of the representability of events that concerns Lyotard throughout his career originates in Discourse, Figure. I use these two words to guide my review. First I outline the events of the book: its context and its argument. .. (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)
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)
The present paper analyzes the dialogue between Gilles Deleuze and François Jullien. We focus on three axes articulated by the idea of immanence. Firstly, we shall compare the usage of the expression “absolutization of immanence”, coined by the sinologist in order to play down transcendence in Chinese thought, which was eventually applied by Deleuze within the realm of belief in this world. Secondly, we shall examine Jullien’s critic to Deleuze on the relation between philosophy and wisdom. We sustain that (...) even if the deleuzian description presents ambivalence in the “pre-philosophical” plane of immanence, it does not entail the superiority of philosophy. Thirdly, we shall confront the divergent perspectives on immanence: Deleuze’s treatment as plan and Jullien’s conception as fonds. Finally, we shall expose the hardship to think the idea of immanence present in the work of both authors. (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)
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)
François Jacob is known as one of the key figures in the history of molecular biology. His elaboration, together with Jacques Monod, of the operon model and the basic features of the regulation of gene expression in bacteria, as well as the concept of genetic messenger, won him the Nobel Prize in 1965. Both notions were decisive for the novel imagery of molecular genetics in which the notion of information came to stand central. From a close reading, this article (...) tries to reconstruct how the new language of molecular genetics took shape in the scientific writings of Jacob. In particular, it analyzes how the notions of regulation, information, and language came to be articulated, and how this articulation changed and underwent modulations over time. It shows that a scientific language consists of several layers and thus, as a rule, forms a hybrid structure. The time span covered reaches from the early experiments done together with Monod and Arthur Pardee between 1958 and 1960, also known as the “PaJaMo” experiment, to Jacob’s book on the history of heredity, The Logic of Life, which appeared in 1970. (shrink)
In the early 18th Century, Daniel Defoe found it natural to write a novel whose heroine was a sexually adventurous, socially marginal property offender. Only half a century later, this would have been next to unthinkable. In this paper, the disappearance of Moll Flanders, and her supercession in the annals of literary female offenders by heroines like Tess of the d'Urbervilles, serves as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender and social order in 18th and 19th (...) Century England. Drawing on law, literature, philosophy and social history, I argue that these broad changes underpinned a radical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalisation of women. I focus in particular on the question of how the treatment and understanding of female criminality was changing during the era which saw the construction of the main building blocks of the modern criminal process, and of how these understandings related in turn to broader ideas about gender, social order and individual agency. (shrink)
This paper examines the meanings of the daguerreotype for the astronomer and physicist who introduced it to the world, François Arago. The regime of knowledge production which held sway at the birth of photography implied an alternative view of the moral and political implications of machines from that usually suggested by discussions of ‘mechanization’. Instead of celebrating detachment, instantaneity, transparency and abstraction, Arago understood instruments and human citizens as dynamic mediators which necessarily modify the forces they transmit. His moral (...) economy of instruments also implied specific aesthetic and political commitments. Arago’s republican convictions and expressive personal style, as well as his identification with revolutionary scientist–statesmen including Lazare Carnot and Condorcet, present a strong contrast with the imperial science of Laplace and the image of disengaged, impersonal ‘mechanism’ often associated with the physical science of this time.Keywords: Daguerreotype; Photography; François Arago; Romanticism; Mechanism; Pierre-Simon. (shrink)
Based upon a colloquium held in October 2006, this book comprises fourteen essays concerning Nietzsche’s concept, evaluation, and practice of philology. Jean-François Balaudé and Patrick Wotling’s introduction gives an idea of the complicated relation between philology and philosophy in Nietzsche’s oeuvre. They point out that, although philology and philosophy might be seen as two distinct professions, connected also to different phases in Nietzsche’s life, the two are intimately related from the beginning and remain that way. The ultimate concern of (...) the book, though, is Nietzsche’s notion of philosophy: can his understanding and practice of it be understood in terms of philology, namely, as the continuation... (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)