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DESCARTES, SPINOZA, AND THE IMPASSE OF FRENCH PHILOSOPHY: FERDINAND ALQUIÉ VERSUS MARTIAL GUEROULT*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2011

KNOX PEDEN*
Affiliation:
Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland Email: k.peden@uq.edu.au

Abstract

This article presents a decades-long conflict in the upper echelons of postwar French academic philosophy between the self-identifying “Cartesian” Ferdinand Alquié, professor at the Sorbonne, and the “Spinozist” Martial Gueroult of the Collège de France. Tracking the development of this rivalry serves to illuminate the historical drama that occurred in France as phenomenology was integrated into the Cartesian tradition and resisted by a commitment to rationalism grounded in a specifically French understanding of Spinozism. Over the course of Alquié and Gueroult's polemic, however, we nevertheless witness a shared concern to preserve philosophy from the reductive tendencies of historicism and its possible assimilation to theology. What is more, the ultimate impasse of this conflict continues to inform the most innovative projects in French thought in the wake of structuralism and the “theological turn” of French phenomenology.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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