This essay examines the rapprochement between science and metaphysics that the French philosopher Alfred Fouillée staged in his writings from 1872 up until his death in 1912. Amidst the influx of new research in scientific psychology inundating France in the late nineteenth century, Fouillée's thought stands out for its creative effort to advance a new spiritualist philosophy on the basis of positive scientific advancements. Fouillée's work is significant for intellectual historians of thought in the fin de siècle because it challenges the common historiographical narrative, initially presented in H. Stuart Hughes's Consciousness and Society, which erroneously frames spiritualist thinkers, Henri Bergson chief among them, as leading a “revolt against positivism.” Fouillée throws into stark relief a new spiritualist current that incorporated research in the natural and human sciences from across Europe in order to craft an updated understanding of consciousness. This essay treats Fouillée's work as a historical window onto a distinctly new spiritualism whose proponents sought to overcome the old spiritualism of Victor Cousin's eclectic school, which shunned any naturalist underpinning of metaphysics. While Fouillée has already been widely historicized as a social and political thinker, this essay introduces original archival materials that help to resituate Fouillée as a leading figure of the new spiritualism animating French philosophy in the final quarter of the nineteenth century.
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