This is a critical introduction to modern French philosophy, commissioned from one of the liveliest contemporary practitioners and intended for an English-speaking readership. The dominant 'Anglo-Saxon' reaction to philosophical development in France has for some decades been one of suspicion, occasionally tempered by curiosity but more often hardening into dismissive rejection. But there are signs now of a more sympathetic interest and an increasing readiness to admit and explore shared concerns, even if these are still expressed in a very (...) different idiom and intellectual context. Vincent Descombes offers here a personal guide to the main movements and figures of the last forty-five years. He traces over this period the evolution of thought from a generation preoccupied with the 'three H's' - Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger, to a generation influenced since about 1960 by the 'three masters of suspicion' - Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. In this framework he deals in turn with the thought of Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, the early structuralists, Foucault, Althusser, Serres, Derrida, and finally Deleuze and Lyotard. The 'internal' intellectual history of the period is related to its institutional setting and the wider cultural and political context which has given French philosophy so much of its distinctive character. (shrink)
In this book Gary Gutting tells, clearly and comprehensively, the story of French philosophy from 1890 to 1990. He examines the often neglected background of spiritualism, university idealism, and early philosophy of science, and also discusses the privileged role of philosophy in the French education system. Taking account of this background, together with the influences of avant-garde literature and German philosophy, he develops a rich account of existential phenomenology, which he argues is the central achievement of French (...) thought during the century, and of subsequent structuralist and poststructuralist developments. His discussion includes chapters on Bergson, Sartre, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Derrida, with sections on other major thinkers including Lyotard, Deleuze, Irigaray, Levinas, and Ricoeur. He offers challenging analyses of the often misunderstood relationship between existential phenomenology and structuralism and of the emergence of poststructuralism. Finally, he sketches the major current trends of French philosophy. (shrink)
Steven French articulates and defends the bold claim that there are no objects in the world. He draws on metaphysics and philosophy of science to argue for structural realism--the position that we live in a world of structures--and defends a form of eliminativism about objects that sets laws and symmetry principles at the heart of ontology.
I. On the morning of 28 November 1979 flight TE-901, a DC-10 operated by Air New Zealand Limited, took off from Auckland, New Zealand, on a sightseeing passenger flight over a portion of Antarctica. The pilot in command was Captain Collins. The following are paragraphs from the official Report of the Royal Commission that inquired into the events surrounding that flight.
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger's impact on contemporary thought is important and controversial. However in France, the influence of this German philosopher is such that contemporary French thought cannot be properly understood without reference to Heidegger and his extraordinary influence. Tom Rockmore examines the reception of Heidegger's thought in France. He argues that in the period after the Second World War, due to the peculiar nature of the humanist French Philosophical tradition, Heidegger became the master thinker of French philosophy. Perhaps (...) most importantly, he contends that this reception - first as philosophical anthropology and later as postmetaphysical humanism - is systematically mistaken. (shrink)
This unique book addresses trends such as vitalism, neo-Kantianism, existentialism, Marxism and feminism, and provides concise biographies of the influential philosophers who shaped these movements, including entries on over ninety thinkers. Offers discussion and cross-referencing of ideas and figures Provides Appendix on the distinctive nature of French academic culture.
Steven French and Decio Krause examine the metaphysical foundations of quantum physics. They draw together historical, logical, and philosophical perspectives on the fundamental nature of quantum particles and offer new insights on a range of important issues. Focusing on the concepts of identity and individuality, the authors explore two alternative metaphysical views; according to one, quantum particles are no different from books, tables, and people in this respect; according to the other, they most certainly are. Each view comes with (...) certain costs attached and after describing their origins in the history of quantum theory, the authors carefully consider whether these costs are worth bearing. Recent contributions to these discussions are analyzed in detail and the authors present their own original perspective on the issues. The final chapter suggests how this perspective can be taken forward in the context of quantum field theory. (shrink)
Badiou explores the exponentially rich and varied world of French philosophy in a number of groundbreaking essays, published her for the first time in English or in a revised translation. Included are the often-quoted review of Louis Althussers's canonical works For Marks and Reading Capital and the scathing critique of 'potato fascism' in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guttari's A Thousand Plateus. There are also talks on Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Nancy, and reviews of the work of Jean-François Lyotard and (...) Barbara Cassin, notable points of interest on an expansive tour of modern French thought.Guided by a small set of fundamental questions concerning the nature of being, the event, the subject, and truth, Badiou pushes to an extreme the polemical force of his thinking. Against the formless continuum of life, he posits the need for radical discontinuity; against the false modesty of finitude, he pleads for the mathematical infinity of everyday situations; against the various returns to Kant, the argues for the persistence of Hegelian dialectic; and against the lure of ultraleftism, his texts from the 1970s vindicate the role of Maoism as a driving force behind the communist Idea. (shrink)
This book gives a critical assessment of key developments in contemporary French philosophy, highlighting the diverse ways in which recent French thought has moved beyond the philosophical positions and arguments which have been widely associated with the terms 'post-structuralism' and 'postmodernism'. These developments are assessed through a close comparative reading of the work of seven contemporary thinkers: Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bernard Stiegler, Catherine Malabou, Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou and François Laruelle. The book situates the writing of each (...) philosopher in relation to earlier traditions of French thought. In differing ways, these philosophers decisively distance themselves from the linguistic paradigm which dominated so much twentieth-century thought in order to rethink philosophical conceptions of materiality, worldliness, shared embodied existence and human agency or subjectivity. They thereby open the way for a radical renewal of the claims, possibilities and transformative power of philosophical thinking itself. This book will be an indispensable text for students of philosophy and for anyone interested in current developments in philosophy and social thought. (shrink)
Contemporary French philosophy is laying fresh claim to the human. Through a series of independent, simultaneous initiatives, arising in the writing of diverse current French thinkers, the figured of the human is being transformed and reworked. -/- Christopher Watkin draws out both the promises and perils inherent in these attempts to rethink humanity’s relation to ‘nature’ and ‘culture’, to the objects that surround us, to the possibility of social and political change, to ecology and even to our own (...) brains. This comparative assessment makes visible for the first time one of the most important trends in French thought today. (shrink)
Philosophy plays an integral role in French society, affecting its art, drama, politics, and culture. In this accessible, chronological survey, Matthews offers some explanations for the enduring popularity of the subject and traces the developments that French philosophy has taken in the twentieth century, from its roots in the thought of Descartes to key figures such as Bergson, Sartre, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Derrida, and the recent French Feminists.
In this study of space and power and knowledge in France from the 1830s through the 1930s, Rabinow uses the tools of anthropology, philosophy, and cultural criticism to examine how social environment was perceived and described. Ranging from epidemiology to the layout of colonial cities, he shows how modernity was revealed in urban planning, architecture, health and welfare administration, and social legislation.
"... no other book undertakes to relate all these French philosophers to each other the way that [Lawlor] does, brilliantly." —François Raffoul For many, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze represent one of the greatest movements in French philosophy. But these philosophers and their works did not materialize without a philosophical heritage. In Thinking through French Philosophy, Leonard Lawlor shows how the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty formed an important current in sustaining the development of structuralism and (...) post-structuralism. Seeking the "point of diffraction," or the specific ideas and concepts that link Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze, Lawlor discovers differences and convergences in these thinkers who worked the same terrain. Major themes include metaphysics, archaeology, language and documentation, expression and interrogation, and the very experience of thinking. Lawlor’s focus on the experience of the question brings out critical differences in immanence and transcendence. This illuminating and provocative book brings new vitality to debates on contemporary French philosophy. (shrink)
he relationship between metaphysics and science has recently become the focus of increased attention. Ladyman and Ross, in particular, have accused even naturalistically inclined metaphysicians of pursuing little more than the philosophy of A-level chemistry and have suggested that analytic metaphysics should simply be discontinued. In contrast, we shall argue, first of all, that even metaphysics that is disengaged from modern science may offer a set of resources that can be appropriated by philosophers of physics in order to set physics (...) within an interpretational framework. Secondly, however, we shall urge that insofar as metaphysics is intended to be more than just a toolbox it needs to accommodate the implications of physics if many of its core claims are to be sustained. We shall illustrate this last point with a discussion of the nature of laws and modality in the context of modern physics. (shrink)
More than any other figure, Friedrich Nietzsche is cited as the philosopher who anticipates and previews the philosophical themes that have dominated French theory since structuralism. Informed by the latest developments in both contemporary French philosophy and Nietzsche scholarship, Alan Schrift's Nietzsche's French Legacy provides a detailed examination and analysis of the way the French have appropriated Nietzsche in developing their own critical projects. Using Nietzsche's thought as a springboard, this study makes accessible the ideas of (...) some of the most important and difficult of contemporary French poststructuralist theorists including Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Helene Cixous. Through a careful analysis and close reading of the texts of Nietzsche and French poststructuralism, Schrift illuminates the ways in which Nietzsche's thought prefigures certain poststructuralist motifs. He demonstrates how several dominant themes in contemporary Frenchphilosophy emerge out of Nietzsche's own thinking. As one of the first books to critically examine the work of the new French anti-Nietzschean's, Schrift defends the value of poststructuralism and Nietzsche as critical resources for confronting the present. (shrink)
The late 20th century saw a remarkable flourishing of philosophy in France. The work of French philosophers is wide ranging, historically informed, often reaching out beyond the boundaries of philosophy; they are public intellectuals, taken seriously as contributors to debates outside the academy. Gary Gutting tells the story of the development of a distinctively French philosophy in the last four decades of the 20th century. His aim is to arrive at an account of what it was to 'do (...) philosophy' in France, what this sort of philosophizing was able to achieve, and how it differs from the analytic philosophy dominant in Anglophone countries. -/- His initial focus is on the three most important philosophers who came to prominence in the 1960s: Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. He sets out the educational and cultural context of their work, as a basis for a detailed treatment of how they formulated and began to carry out their philosophical projects in the 1960s and 1970s. He gives a fresh assessment of their responses to the key influences of Hegel and Heidegger, and the fraught relationship of the new generation to their father-figure Sartre. He concludes that Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze can all be seen as developing their fundamental philosophical stances out of distinctive readings of Nietzsche. The second part of the book considers topics and philosophers that became prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, such as the revival of ethics in Levinas, Derrida, and Foucault, the return to phenomenology and its use to revive religious experience as a philosophical topic, and Alain Badiou's new ontology of the event. Finally Gutting brings to the fore the meta-philosophical theme of the book, that French philosophy since the 1960s has been primarily concerned with thinking the impossible. (shrink)
During the seventeenth century there were different ways of opposing the new mechanical philosophy and the old Aristotelian philosophy. Remarkably enough, one of this way succeeded in becoming stable beyond the moment of its formulation, one according to which Descartes would be the benchmark by which the works of other natural philosophers of the seventeenth century fall either on the side of the old or the new. I consequently examine the French debate where this representation emerges, a debate that (...) took place along with the development of a Cartesian propaganda in the 1660s and the ensuing official condemnations of the philosophy of Descartes, which was said to constitute a danger for the mystery of Eucharist. But these condemnations pronounced in the name of theology, as numerous and radical as they were, were not considered to be sufficient. They were assisted by numerous polemical works, the audience of which were learned companies of courteous honnêtes gens, and the object of which was to defend a certain way of proceeding in natural philosophy. I consequently concentrate on two correlated questions, the question of what kind of ontological entities are necessary for the establishment of a good physics, and the correlated question of what norms should be adopted in natural philosophy. I show quite systematically that the criticisms of Cartesian philosophers by the Oratorian Jean-Baptiste de La Grange, the bishop Pierre-Daniel Huet, and various Jesuits, Ignace Pardies, Antoine Rochon, Louis Le Valois, Gabriel Daniel, René Rapin, and Honoré Fabri respond to the mockeries of Gérauld de Cordemoy, Jacques Rohault, Louis de La Forge, Bernard Lamy, Nicolas Malebranche or Antoine Arnauld concerning the scholastic entities. Not only do I contrast their philosophical arguments concerning ontological entities and the norms to be respected in physics, but also their ways of defining the philosophical enterprise and its public. (shrink)
We outline Ladyman's 'metaphysical' or 'ontic' form of structuralrealism and defend it against various objections. Cao, in particular, has questioned theview of ontology presupposed by this approach and we argue that by reconceptualisingobjects in structural terms it offers the best hope for the realist in thecontext of modern physics.
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Part I. Derrida Post-Existentialist: 1. Humanist pretensions: Catholics, Communists and Sartre's struggle for existentialism in post-war France; 2. Derrida's 'Christian' existentialism; 3. Normalization: the École Normale Supe;rieure and Derrida's turn to Husserl; 4. Genesis as a problem: Derrida reading Husserl; 5. The God of mathematics: Derrida and the origin of geometry; Part II. Between Phenomenology and Structuralism: 6. A history of diffe;rance; 7. L'ambiguite; du concours: the deconstruction of commentary and interpretation in Speech and Phenomena; (...) 8. The ends of man: reading and writing at the ENS; Epilogue. (shrink)
This highly original history of ideas considers the impact of Hegel on French philosophy from the 1920s to the present. As Baugh's lucid narrative makes clear, Hegel's influence on French philosophy has been profound, and can be traced through all the major intellectual movements and thinkers in France throughout the 20th Century from Jean Wahl, Sartre, and Bataille to Foucault, Deleuze, and Derrida. Baugh focuses on Hegel's idea of the "unhappy consciousness," and provides a bold new account of (...) Hegel's early reception in French intellectual history. (shrink)
The semantic, or model-theoretic, approach to theories has recently come under criticism on two fronts: (i) it is claimed that it cannot account for the wide diversity of models employed in scientific practice—a claim which has led some to propose a “deflationary” account of models; (ii) it is further contended that the sense of “model” used by the approach differs from that given in model theory. Our aim in the present work is to articulate a possible response to these claims, (...) drawing on recent developments within the semantic approach itself. Thus, the first is answered by utilizing the notion of a “partial structure”, first introduced in this context by da Costa and French in 1990. The second claim is undermined by consideration of van Fraassen's understanding of “model” which corresponds well with that evinced by modem mathematicians. This latter discussion, in particular, has an impact on the continuing debate regarding the relative merits of the semantic and syntactic views and the developments presented here can be taken to provide further support to the former. (shrink)
This is a book-length study of two of Descartes's most innovative successors, Robert Desgabets and Pierre-Sylvain Regis, and of their highly original contributions to Cartesianism. The focus of the book is an analysis of radical doctrines in the work of these thinkers that derive from arguments in Descartes: on the creation of eternal truths, on the intentionality of ideas, and on the soul-body union. As well as relating their work to that of fellow Cartesians such as Malebranche and Arnauld, the (...) book also establishes the important though neglected role played by Desgabets and Regis in the theologically and politically charged reception of Descartes in early modern France. This is a major contribution to the history of Cartesianism that will be of special interest to historians of early modern philosophy and historians of ideas. (shrink)
Stein once urged us not to confuse the means of representation with that which is being represented. Yet that is precisely what philosophers of science appear to have done at the meta-level when it comes to representing the practice of science. Proponents of the so-called ‘syntactic’ view identify theories as logically closed sets of sentences or propositions and models as idealised interpretations, or ‘theoruncula, as Braithwaite called them. Adherents of the ‘semantic’ approach, on the other hand, are typically characterised as (...) taking them to be families of models that are set-theoretic, according to Suppes and others, or abstract, as Giere has argued. da Costa and French (Science and Partial Truth. OUP, Oxford, 2003) suggested that we should refrain from ontological speculation as to the nature of scientific theories and models and focus on their appropriate representation for various purposes within the philosophy of science. Such an approach allows both linguistic and non-linguistic resources to play their appropriate role (see also French and Saatsi, Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the 2004 PSA Meeting, 78:548–559, 2006) and can be supported by recent case studies illustrating the heterogeneity of scientific practice. My aim in this paper is to further develop this ‘quietist’ view, and to indicate how it offers a fruitful way forward for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Department of History and Philosophy of Science. University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH This paper is concerned with the question of whether atomic particles of the same species, i. e. with the same intrinsic state-independent properties of mass, spin, electric charge, etc, violate the Leibnizian Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles, in the sense that, while there is more than one of them, their state-dependent properties may also all be the same. The answer depends on what exactly (...) the state-dependent properties of atomic particles are taken to be. On the plausible interpretation that these should comprise all monadic and relational properties that can be expressed in terms of physical magnitudes associated with self-adjoint operators that can be defined for the individual particles, then the weakest form of the Principle is shown to be violated for bosons, fermions and higher-order paraparticles, treated in first quantization *Some of the arguments inn this paper appeared in a thesis submited by one of us (S.F.) In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the PhD degree of the University of London, in 1984. entitled 'Identity and ‘Individuality in Classical and Quantum Physics’. (shrink)
The central concern of this article is whether the semantic approach has the resources to appropriately capture the core tenets of structural realism. Chakravartty (2001) has argued that a realist notion of correspondence cannot be accommodated without introducing a linguistic component, which undermines the approach itself. We suggest that this worry can be addressed by an appropriate understanding of the role of language in this context. The real challenge, however, is how to incorporate the core notion of `explanatory approximate truth' (...) in such a way that the emphasis on structure is retained. (shrink)
Quantum theory explains a hugely diverse array of phenomena in the history of science. But how can the world be the way quantum theory says it is? Fifteen expert scholars consider what the world is like according to quantum physics in this volume and offer illuminating new perspectives on fundamental debates that span physics and philosophy.
Although much of its history has been neglected or misunderstood, a structuralist 'tendency' has re-emerged within the philosophy of science. Broadly speaking, it consists of two fundamental strands: on the one hand, there is the identification of structural commonalities between theories; on the other, there is the metaphysical decomposition of objects in structural terms. Both have been pressed into service for the realist cause: the former has been identified primarily with Worrall's 'epistemic' structural realism; the latter with Ladyman's 'ontic' form. (...) And both raise important issues of general interest within the philosophy of science and metaphysics, respectively. The former invites questions regarding the identification and appropriate representation of these commonalities; the latter touches on different views regarding the nature of objects, the constitutive role of properties and the seat of causal powers. Both strands have recently come under critical fire. It is my intention to present a unified account of the 'structuralist tendency' which emphasizes the dual roles of structure as representational and constitutive, and to indicate how the more acute critical remarks can be dealt with. (shrink)
What role have experiments played, and should they play, in physics? How does one come to believe rationally in experimental results? The Neglect of Experiment attempts to provide answers to both of these questions. Professor Franklin's approach combines the detailed study of four episodes in the history of twentieth century physics with an examination of some of the philosophical issues involved. The episodes are the discovery of parity nonconservation in the 1950s; the nondiscovery of parity nonconservation in the 1930s, when (...) the results of experiments indicated, at least in retrospect, the symmetry violation, but the significance of those results was not realized; the discovery and acceptance of CP symmetry; and Millikan's oil-drop experiment. Franklin examines the various roles that experiment plays, including its role in deciding between competing theories, confirming theories, and calling fo new theories. The author argues that one can provide a philosophical justification for these roles. He contends that if experiment plays such important roles, then one must have good reason to believe in experimental results. He then deals with deveral problems concerning such reslults, including the epistemology of experiment, how one comes to believe rationally in experimental results, the question of the influence of theoretical presuppositions on results, and the problem of scientific fruad. This original and important contribution to the study of the philosophy of experimental science is an outgrowth of many years of research. Franklin brings to this work more than a decade of experience as an experimental high-energy physicist, along with his significant contributions to the history and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Ontic structural realism argues that structure is all there is. In (French, 2014) I argued for an ‘eliminativist’ version of this view, according to which the world should be conceived, metaphysically, as structure, and objects, at both the fundamental and ‘everyday’ levels, should be eliminated. This paper is a response to a number of profound concerns that have been raised, such as how we might distinguish between the kind of structure invoked by this view and mathematical structure in general, (...) how we should choose between eliminativist ontic structural realism and alternative metaphysical accounts such as dispositionalism, and how we should capture, in metaphysical terms, the relationship between structures and particles. In developing my response I shall touch on a number of broad issues, including the applicability of mathematics, the nature of representation and the relationship between metaphysics and science in general. (shrink)
Thirty years after the conference that gave rise to The Structure of Scientific Theories, there is renewed interest in the nature of theories and models. However, certain crucial issues from thirty years ago are reprised in current discussions; specifically: whether the diversity of models in the science can be captured by some unitary account; and whether the temporal dimension of scientific practice can be represented by such an account. After reviewing recent developments we suggest that these issues can be accommodated (...) within the partial structures formulation of the semantic or model-theoretic approach. (shrink)
One way of explaining Rudolf Carnap’s mature philosophical view is by drawing an analogy between his technical projects—like his work on inductive logic—with a certain kind of conceptual engineering. After all, there are many mathematical similarities between Carnap’s work in inductive logic and a number of results from contemporary confirmation theory, statistics and mathematical probability theory. However, in stressing these similarities, the conceptual dependence of Carnap’s inductive logic on his work on semantics is downplayed. Yet it is precisely the conceptual (...) resources made available to Carnap from his work on semantics which allows him to understand his work on inductive logic as a kind of conceptual engineering project. The aim of this paper is to elucidate this engineering analogy in light of Carnap’s mature views through the lens of both inductive logic and semantics. (shrink)
This essay attempts to describe the neo-Lamarckian atmosphere that was dominant in French biology for more than a century. Firstly, we demonstrate that there were not one but at least two French neo-Lamarckian traditions. This implies, therefore, that it is possible to propose a clear definition of a (neo) Lamarckian conception, and by using it, to distinguish these two traditions. We will see that these two conceptions were not dominant at the same time. The first French neo-Lamarckism (...) (1879-1931) was structured by a very mechanic view of natural processes. The main representatives of this first period were scientists such as Alfred Giard (1846-1908), Gaston Bonnier (1853-1922) and Félix Le Dantec (1869-1917). The second Lamarckism - much more vitalist in its inspiration - started to develop under the supervision of people such as Albert Vandel (1894-1980) and Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895-1985). Secondly, this essay suggests that the philosophical inclinations of these neo-Lamarckisms reactivated a very ancient and strong dichotomy of French thought. One part of this dichotomy is a material, physicalist tradition, which started with René Descartes but developed extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries. The other is a spiritual and vitalist reaction to the first one, which also had a very long history, though it is most closely associated with the work of Henri Bergson. Through Claude Bernard, the first neo-Lamarckians tried to construct a mechanical and determinist form of evolutionary theory which was, in effect, a Cartesian theory. The second wave of neo-Lamarckians wanted to reconsider the autonomy and reactivity of life forms, in contrast to purely physical systems. (shrink)
Linguistics, Anthropology and Philosophy in the French Enlightenment treats the development of linguistic thought from Descartes to Degerando as both a part of and a determining factor in the emergence of modern consciousness. Through his careful analyses of works by the most influential thinkers of the time, author Ulrich Ricken demonstrates that the central significance of language in the philosophy of the enlightenment is how it reflected and acted upon contemporary understanding of humanity as a whole. Although primarily focused (...) on French thought between 1650 and 1800, the author discusses contemporary developments in England, Germany and Italy and covers an unusually broad range of writers and ideas, including Leibniz, Wolff, Herder and Humboldt. This study places the history of language philosophy within the broader context of the history of ideas, aesthetics and historical anthropology and will be of interest to scholars working in these disciplines. (shrink)
This book tells for the first time the long and complex story of the involvement of Locke's suggestion that God could add to matter the power of thought in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the growth of French materialism. There is a discussion of the 'affaire de Prades', in which Locke's name was linked with a censored thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Paris. The similarities and differences between English "thinking matter" and the French "matiere pensante" (...) of the philosophes are also discussed. (shrink)