Volume 80, Issue 1, January-March 2017
From the Revolution to History
Frédéric Brahami, From the Revolution to History
Jean-Yves Pranchère, Progress as Catastrophe. The Counter-Revolutionary Thought and the Dehiscence of History
The counter-revolutionary thought has exerted a constraint on the 19th century philosophy of history. It has forced liberal and democratic ideals to face up to their blind spots while stressing the need to understand society as a self-powered set of structures. Its sociological approach, however, was condemned to face up to the need for a dialectical interpretation of the meaning of the French Revolution in global history. The grievance against the tear of the web of time could not but overturn itself in a progressivist hope for a new enlightened monarchy, or in a messianic expectation of a new regime of time .
Stefania Ferrando, The Corruption of the Revolution. Historical Continuity and Social Conflict in Saint-Simon
The article focuses on the problem of a revolutionary tradition, namely the transmission of the ideals of equality and freedom and the transmission of the democratic practices articulating them. We analyse the way in which French sociology, at its beginning, elaborated this problem by transforming political philosophy itself. The article focuses on Saint-Simon theory of history developed to understand the Revolution social meaning and the nature of the historical blockages obstructing the reorganization of post-revolutionary society. Particularly, it examines the saint-simonian conception of social conflict and its relations to a proto-sociological knowledge claiming to orient politics.
Lucie Rey, The Sphinx of Revolution. Pierre Leroux and the Revolutionary Promise
Representative of a barely unknown social philosophical stream of French first nineteenth century, Pierre Leroux is a socialist philosopher. Although he was considered by several contemporaries as the Rousseau of the nineteenth century, he has been forgotten by the history of philosophy. However, the rediscovery of this philosophical movement has a major part to play in our understanding of the political and philosophical heir of modernity. Reading Pierre Leroux permits to understand the conflicts inherited from the French Revolution and to discover an original interpretation of this historical event, based on a continuist philosophy of history. He thus questions the dominating comprehension of his time, which describes the Revolution as a brutal rupture, not to say a historical cataclysm.
Aurélien Aramini, Michelet’s Philosophy of Nation
This study of the works of Michelet reveals the presence of two apparently contradictory concepts of nation. Elaborated in the Introduction à l’histoire universelle (1831), the first concept sits within a historical perspective that illuminates the lengthy process of France’s self-constitution. The second concept which he developed in the Histoire de la Révolution française (1847-1853) is based in the national self-determination of the revolutionaries. The purpose of this article is to examine how Michelet articulates these two concepts of nation as two complementary aspects of the process of constructing a national identity.
Frédéric Brahami, The God Inside
This paper maps out the main stages leading to the construction of a Republican philosophy of history in France by focusing on the works of one of its masters, Edgar Quinet. The counter-revolutionaries had championed the rights of society against those of the people, on the grounds that society was not reducible to a consensus of individual wills, which made it necessary to show that the revolutionary promise itself was embedded in the deepest social aspirations, and called for a sociological approach to history whose storyline was provided by Guizot and Saint-Simon. Quinet challenged this “sociological” interpretation of history and endeavoured to revive a modern form of spirituality that emerged during the French Revolution by positing the sacred value of the individual.
Philippe Crignon, Bacon, Hobbes. The Blind Spots of Political Philosophy
Hobbes’s silence about Bacon is assuredly strange, but it “echoes” the no less astonishing silence of Bacon himself about civil science. What is at stake, here, goes far beyond a mere disinterest for Bacon or for political science. Our claim, in this paper, is that these two silences are linked and grounded in the different ways Bacon and Hobbes construe how philosophy relates to politics. Both of them, although from divergent perspectives, face the impossibility to neutralise and normalise political philosophy. Thereby, they shed light on the extraordinary tension which unites and opposes at the same time philosophy and politics.