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Talk of modernity is plagued with paradox. A relativist stance towards modernity—the claim, for example, that modernity is just one cultural configuration among others—seems to contradict itself. The concept of “cultural configuration,” and similar notions (such as “language game,” “discourse,” “community,” or “myth”), are themselves the products of modern intellectual research and debate. If the relativist claim is true, it appears to undermine the validity of those very conditions of modern intellectual debate that make the claim thinkable. But to argue for modernity's superiority over other cultural configurations seems equally problematic. If the criteria of superiority are themselves modern, then the argument appears question-begging. But if the criteria are not modern, then these non-modern criteria (by which the superiority of the modern can be discerned) would appear themselves to be superior to modern criteria.

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Earlier versions of this paper were presented to the Ve Rencontre EMMA, Histoire intellectuelle des émotions, de l’antiquité à nos jours, in Paris, May 2013; to the Center for the Humanities, Washington University in Saint Louis, in March 2014; to the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of French History, in Durham, England, in July 2014; and to the Department of History of the University at Buffalo, New York, in September 2014. I am grateful to the participants in these sessions for their useful comments, as well as to the editors of Modern Intellectual History for their careful evaluation of an earlier draft. I would also like to thank the participants in my graduate seminar entitled “What Is Modernity?” at Duke University in fall semester, 2013.

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1 Here “cultural configuration” is used in the sense of “symbolic system,” as critiqued by Geertz, Clifford, in “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” in Geertz, , The Interpretation of Culture (New York, 1973), 330 . The concept of “language game” was introduced by Ludwig Wittgenstein; see especially his Philosophical Investigations (Oxford, 1953); “discourse” is a concept developed by Michel Foucault—see e.g. his Les mots et les choses (Paris, 1966); for Richard Rorty's special use of the term “community” see, for example, his “Is Truth a Goal of Inquiry? Davidson versus Wright,” Philosophical Quarterly, 45/180 (1995), 281–300. The term “myth” has been used since the early nineteenth century as a neutral term (in comparison to, say, “superstition”) for origin stories, and stories about the gods more generally. See below for Talal Asad's use of the term.

2 Chakrabarty, Dipesh proposed this distinction in his essay “The Muddle of Modernity,” American Historical Review, 116/3 (2011), 663–75; see also Richards, John F., “Early Modern India and World History,” Journal of World History, 8/2 (1997), 197209 .

3 Thomas-Fogiel, Isabelle, Référence et autoréférence: Etude sur le thème de la mort de la philosophie dans la pensée contemporaine (Paris, 2004); an English version has appeared as The Death of Philosophy: Reference and Self-Reference in Contemporary Thought, trans. Richard A. Lynch (New York, 2011).

4 Karl-Otto Apel elaborated the concept; see e.g. Apel, Karl-Otto, “The Problem of Philosophical Fundamental Grounding in Light of a Transcendental Pragmatic of Language,” Man and World, 8/3 (1975), 239–75; Apel, “Can an Ultimate Foundation of Knowledge Be Non-metaphysical?Journal of Speculative Philosophy, n.s. 7/3 (1993), 171–90. Habermas rendered it famous in his The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, trans. Frederick G. Lawrence (Cambridge, MA, 1987), where he deployed the concept of performative contradiction in his critiques of Adorno, Derrida, and Foucault.

5 This stance is suggested in the works of Gaukroger and Asad, discussed below. The mixing of “philosophy” and “theology” in seventeenth-century works was once treated as ironic or self-protective, but has been taken more seriously in recent years. See Collins, Jeffrey R., “Redeeming the Enlightenment: New Histories of Religious Toleration,” Journal of Modern History, 81/3 (2009), 607–36. Among the works reviewed by Collins, noteworthy are Kaplan, Benjamin J., Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA, 2007); Marshall, John, John Locke, Toleration, and Early Enlightenment Culture (Cambridge, 2006); Walsham, Alexandra, Charitable Hatred: Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500–1700 (Manchester, 2006). See also Lagrée, Jacqueline, La raison ardente: Religion naturelle et raison au XVIIe siècle (Paris, 1991); Luria, Keith, Sacred Boundaries: Religious Coexistence and Conflict in Early Modern France (Washington, DC, 2005); Whelan, Ruth, The Anatomy of Superstition: A Study of the Historical Theory and Practice of Pierre Bayle (Oxford, 1989); Bono, James J., The Word of God and the Languages of Man: Interpreting Nature in Early Modern Science and Medicine, vol. 1, Ficino to Descartes (Madison, 1995).

6 Israel, Jonathan I., Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man, 1670–1752 (Oxford, 2006); Gaukroger, Stephen, The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1200–1685 (Oxford, 2006); Asad, Talal, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford, 2003); Chakrabarty, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, 2000); Anderson, Amanda, The Way We Argue Now: A Study in the Cultures of Theory (Princeton, 2006).

7 See e.g. Chakrabarty, “The Muddle of Modernity”; Asad, Talal, Brown, Wendy, Butler, Judith, and Mahmood, Saba, Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech (Berkeley, CA, 2009); Hashemi, Nader, Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy (Oxford, 2009); Israel, Jonathan, Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750–1790 (Oxford, 2011); Israel, Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from the Rights of Man to Robespierre (Princeton, 2014). Among reviews of Israel, especially interesting are Lilti, Antoine, “Comment écrit-on l’histoire intellectuelle des Lumières?”, Annales: Histoire, science sociales, 64/1 (2009), 171206 ; a recent H-France forum including a reply from Israel, available at, accessed 16 May 2014; and Hunt, Lynn's review of Revolutionary Ideas, “Revolutionary Causes: Was Louis XVI Overthrown by Ideas?”, New Republic, 30 June 2014, 53–5; a reply from Israel was published online on 31 July 2014, along with Lynn Hunt's rejoinder, available at, accessed 4 Aug. 2014. Gaukroger, Stephen has published a second volume in his history of Western science, with the promise of a third to follow: The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1680–1760 (Oxford, 2011); for a critical reaction to Gaukroger see Riskin, Jessica, “Newton and Monotheism,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 40/3 (2010), 399408 . On Anderson see Robbins, Bruce, “On Amanda Anderson's The Way We Argue Now ,” Criticism, 48/2 (2006), 265–71; Cerniglia, David, “The Culture of Argument: An Interview with Amanda Anderson,” Minnesota Review, Winter/Spring 2009, 87100 . Among recent works by Amanda Anderson see “Character and Ideology: The Case of Cold War Liberalism,” New Literary History, 42/2 (2011), 209–29.

8 Gaukroger, in a footnote in The Collapse of Mechanism, 33, dismissed Israel's argument for the influence of Spinozism as without merit; Anderson refers in passing to an essay of 1986 by Asad, in The Way We Argue Now, 101–2.

9 Israel, Enlightenment Contested, v.

10 Ibid., x.

11 Israel's peremptory dismissal of this historiography has been a topic of repeated complaint among his critics—e.g. Lilti, “Comment écrit-on l’histoire intellectuelle”; and Keith Baker's contribution to the H-France forum of May 2014.

12 Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 3, emphasis added; on new cultural history and postmodernism see ibid., 17–23.

13 Ibid., 11, 52.

14 Ibid., e.g., 37, 58, 68.

15 Ibid., 49.

16 Ibid., 267–8.

17 In claiming Bayle for his party, Israel dismisses Bayle's oft-repeated warnings about the limits of reason as so much dust in the eyes of Bayle's enemies. Few scholars agree with this reading. Compare, for example, Israel's treatment of Bayle's discussions of Manicheism and the problem of evil with Whelan's treatment or Bost's; Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 71–85; Whelan, The Anatomy of Superstition, 151, 175–9; Bost, Hubert, Pierre Bayle (Paris, 2006), 398415, 424–7.

18 Gaukroger, Emergence of a Scientific Culture, 3.

19 Ibid., v.

20 Ibid., chap. 12, “The Unity of Knowledge,” 455–505.

21 Ibid., 486; Spinoza is discussed at length at 473–93.

22 Ibid., 486–7.

23 Ibid., 505.

24 Asad, Formations of the Secular, 13, original emphasis.

25 Ibid., 61, original emphases.

26 Ibid., 35–6, 220.

27 Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 43.

28 And this is a task, Chakrabarty adds, which is “impossible within the knowledge protocols of academic history.” Ibid., 46.

29 Ibid., 93, emphasis added.

30 Ibid., 103–4.

31 Ibid., 94.

32 Asad, Formations of the Secular, 115.

33 Anderson, The Way We Argue Now, 138.

34 Ibid., 134.

35 Poovey, Mary, Uneven Development: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (Chicago, 1988).

36 Anderson, The Way We Argue Now, 50.

37 Ibid., 47.

38 Besides works cited above see also, for example, Scott, Joan Wallach, The Fantasy of Feminist History (Durham, NC, 2011); Mahmood, Saba, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton, 2005); Hallaq, Wael B., Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity's Moral Predicament (New York, 2013); Dear, Peter, The Intelligibility of Nature: How Science Makes Sense of the World (Chicago, 2006); Daston, Lorraine and Galison, Peter, Objectivity (New York, 2007); Pincus, Steve, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, 2009).

39 Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 49.

40 In fact, many of Israel's radicals appeared to accept limits to reason's sway that are not dissimilar to the “moderates” Israel so vociferously denounces. On Bayle's religious commitments see Bost, Pierre Bayle; Whelan, The Anatomy of Superstition, 119–79. Denis Diderot's commitment to mechanism was tempered by his understanding of the inherent sensibility of matter; sensibility in turn shaped morality and set limits on reason; see Baertschi, Bernard, Les rapports de l’âme et du corps: Descartes, Diderot, et Maine de Biran (Paris, 1992); Gaukroger, Collapse of Mechanism, 387–420.

41 Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 45.

42 See, for example, the interesting discussion of the concept of “priestcraft” in Gelders, Raf and Balagangadhara, S. N., “Rethinking Orientalism: Colonialism and the Study of Indian Traditions,” History of Religions, 51/2 (2011), 101–28.

43 On the notion of the umma see Asad, Formations of the Secular, 195–201.

44 Ibid., 90.

45 Ibid., 91.

46 Ibid., 200.

47 Ibid., 178.

48 Ibid., 179–80.

49 Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 45.

50 Anderson, The Way We Argue Now, 178.

51 Ibid., 43.

52 This discussion relies, in significant part, on Meyer, Michel, Logique, langage et argumentation (Paris, 1982); see also, on Russell, Thomas-Fogiel, The Death of Philosophy, esp. 150–59.

53 Santayana, George, The Life of Reason, or the Phases of Human Progress (New York, 1906), 284 .

54 Andrew David Irvine and Harry Deutsch, “Russell's Paradox,” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, online at, Section 2, “History of the Paradox,” accessed 27 April 2014. On Frege see Edward N. Zalta, “Gottlob Frege,” in ibid., Section 2.4.2, accessed 5 May 2014.

55 Quoted in Searle, John R., Mind, Language and Society: Philosophy in the Real World (New York, 1998), 3 .

56 Russell, Bertrand, “Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types,” American Journal of Mathematics, 30/3 (1908), 222–62.

57 Meyer, Logique, langage et argumentation, 43, 77.

58 Gödel, Kurt, “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems I,” in Collected Works, 5 vols., ed. Feferman, Solomon et al. (New York, 1986–2003), 1: 145–95. On Gödel see Tennant, Neil, “Deflationism and the Gödel Phenomena,” Mind, n.s. 111/443 (2002), 551–82; Serény, György, “Gödel, Tarski, Church, and the Liar,” Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 9/1 (2003), 325 ; a useful introduction to Gödel is Nagel, Ernest and Newman, James R., Gödel's Proof, revised edn (New York, 2001).

59 On Wittgenstein's initial response to Gödel see Floyd, Juliet and Putnam, Hilary, “A Note on Wittgenstein's ‘Notorious Paragraph’ about the Gödel Theorem,” Journal of Philosophy, 97/11 (2000), 624–32. On Wittgenstein's much more developed views, as they appeared in Philosophical Investigations, see, for this discussion, Kripke, Saul A., Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition (Cambridge, MA, 1982); and Pastorini, Chiara, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Une introduction (Paris, 2011).

60 On the various uses of the concept of a “linguistic turn” see Surkis, Judith, “When Was the Linguistic Turn? A Genealogy,” American Historical Review, 117/3 (2012), 700–22. For Thomas-Fogiel's argument, besides Death of Philosophy see also Thomas-Fogiel, Isabelle, “Plaidoyer pour le langage philosophique: Du spéculatif à l’ordinaire, et retour? Austin, Searle, Cavell et la ‘tradition spéculative,’” Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 2 (2004), 235–58. Also relevant is Thomas-Fogiel's earlier work, Critique de la représentation: Etude sur Fichte (Paris, 2000).

61 See note 4 above.

62 Thomas-Fogiel, Death of Philosophy, 154–5.

63 Ibid., 184–5.

64 Ibid., 150. I have made virtually the same argument in Reddy, William M., “Humanists and the Experimental Study of Emotion,” in Biess, Frank and Gross, Daniel M., eds., Science and Emotions after 1945: A Transnational Perspective (Chicago, 2014), 4166 .

65 Thomas-Fogiel, Death of Philosophy, 11, emphasis in original.

66 Ibid., 82, quoting Luc Langlois, “Habermas et la question de la vérité,” Archives de philosophie, 66/4 (2003), 563–83, at 566.

67 Habermas, Jürgen, Between Naturalism and Religion, trans. Ciaran Cronin (Cambridge, 2008); first published as Zwischen Naturalismus und Religion (Frankfurt am Main, 2005).

68 Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 3, emphasis added.

69 For Habermas's critique of Foucault see Habermas, Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 238–93. James Tully indicates that Foucault was aware of the gist of this critique by the 1977–83 period, and was actively responding to it in his final works and interviews; see Tully, James, “To Think and Act Differently: Foucault's Four Reciprocal Objections to Habermas's Theory,” in Ashenden, Samantha and Owen, David, eds., Foucault contra Habermas: Recasting the Dialogue between Genealogy and Critical Theory (London, 1999), 90142 . Anderson discusses the Habermas–Foucault debate in The Way We Argue Now, chap. 6, 134–60; see also Jay, Martin, “The Debate over Performative Contradiction: Habermas versus the Poststructuralists,” in Honneth, Axel, McCarthy, Thomas, Offe, Claus, and Wellmer, Albrecht, eds., Philosophical Interventions in the Unfinished Project of Enlightenment (Cambridge, MA, 1992), 261–79.

70 That is, in Anderson's view, Smith's argument for pragmatism amounts to arguing that there is something about Smith and other pragmatists, as persons, that makes the comfort they feel about their argument into an additional point in its favor—in fact, the determining point; Anderson, The Way We Argue Now, 120, quotes Barbara Herrnstein Smith, who says that the pragmatist “believes, in comfortable accord with the conceptual systems and idioms she prefers,” that it is via “contigent interest and utility” that “all disciplinary knowledge—science, philosophy, literary studies, and so forth—evolves”; from Smith, Barbara Herrnstein, Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy (Cambridge, MA, 1997), 86–7.

71 Thomas-Fogiel, Death of Philosophy, 110.

72 Ibid., 115.

73 Ibid., 122.

74 One of Habermas's early discussions of these types of validity claim is “Vorbereitende Bemerkungen zu einer Theorie der kommunikativen Kompetenz,” in Habermas, Jürgen and Luhmann, Niklas, Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie: Was leistet die Systemforschung? (Frankfurt, 1971), 101–41; see also Habermas, “What Is Universal Pragmatics?”, trans. Thomas McCarthy (first published in German 1976), in Cooke, Maeve, ed., On the Pragmatics of Communication (Cambridge, 1998), 21104, esp. 21–2, where he lists four types of validity claim: intelligibility, truth, rightness, and sincerity; in later work Habermas has little further to say about intelligibility, and sometimes speaks only of the three validity claims, “truth, rightness, and sincerity”; see e.g. Habermas, Jürgen, The Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 1, Reason and the Rationalization of Society, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston, 1984), 287 ; see also Habermas, Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action, trans. Christian Lenhardt and Shierry Weber Nicholsen (Cambridge, MA, 1990).

75 See e.g. Apel, Karl-Otto, “C. S. Peirce and the Post-Tarskian Problem of an Adequate Explication of the Meaning of the Truth: Towards a Transcendental–Pragmatic Theory of Truth, Part II,” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 18/1 (1982), 317, esp. 14; Apel, “Normatively Grounding ‘Critical Theory’ through Recourse to the Lifeworld? A Transcendental–Pragmatic Attempt to Think with Habermas against Habermas,” in Honneth et al., Philosophical Interventions in the Unfinished Project of Enlightenment, 125–70, esp. pp. 146–8.

76 Anderson, The Way We Argue Now, 167. In the original, Anderson refers to the “four” types of validity claim laid out by Habermas; see note 74 above.

77 Thomas-Fogiel, Death of Philosophy, 118–21.

78 This point is obvious from, for example, the long quote of Habermas that Anderson provides in The Way We Argue Now, 168, from Moral Consciousness, p. 137.

79 For further discussion see Albinus, Lars, “Can Science Cope with More than One World? A Cross-reading of Habermas, Popper, and Searle,” Journal of General Philosophy of Science, 44/3 (2013), 320 .

80 There is no place here for a detailed discussion of the evolution of Habermas's thinking. However, it is worth noting that his presuppositions continue to privilege a modern secular outlook. In his 2005 work Between Naturalism and Religion, for example, Habermas acknowledges the genealogical link of his theory of communicative rationality with “Kantian concepts,” while insisting that his approach, “formal pragmatics,” requires a “detranscendentalization” that “represents a profound intervention into the architecture of [Kant's] basic assumptions.” However, Habermas's discussion of religious toleration and multiculturalism in this work emphasizes the mutual obligation of religiously or ethnically defined groups to subordinate their world views to civil limits. Habermas calls for cooperative translation of assertions couched in religious language—a task facing significant difficulties. But this task is only possible if both sides at least tacitly agree on cooperating in a neutral civic sphere of communication.The assumption throughout is that it is unproblematic to treat all participants in communication as secular human persons, even if they do not see themselves that way—this is precisely the assumption that Chakrabarty regards as imposing a “jolt” on some non-Western persons, and that Talal Asad regards as a source of anguish for some persons subjected to the values of Western civil society. But for Habermas it is a precondition even of calculating the cost of a group's submission to the terms of action permitted by a democratic constitutional order. See Habermas, Between Naturalism and Religion, esp. 28–9, 249–311.

81 Searle and Vanderveken's alternative proposal—that there are seven types of validity claim implicit in every speech act—suffers from a similar importation of a modern world view; see Searle, John R. and Vanderveken, Daniel, Foundations of Illocutionary Logic (Cambridge, 1985).

82 Examples of “something akin to rational argument” that have developed outside Western influence can be readily accessed via, for example, Bimal Krishna Matilal's works on South Asian philosophical traditions; see e.g. Matilal, Bimal Krishna, Perception: An Essay on Classical Indian Theories of Knowledge (Oxford, 1986); Matilal, The Character of Logic in India (Albany, 1998). See also Walser, Joseph, “On the Formal Arguments of the Akutobhayā,” Journal of Indian Philosophy, 26/3 (1998), 189232 . On debate within Islam see, for example, Asad's discussion of ijtihād in Formations of the Secular, 118–22; see also Osti, Letizia, “Scholarly Competition in Third/Ninth-Century Baghdad,” Quaderni di Studi Arabi, n.s. 1 (2006), 87112 .

83 As Ruth Whelan, The Anatomy of Superstition, 3, has put it, “Bayle, a herald of the Enlightenment, may have inadvertently contributed to the secularization of European thought, but he himself—like so many of his contemporaries—is caught in the cross-current of debates which are essentially theological.”

84 Marshall, John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture .

85 Labrousse, Elisabeth, La révocation de l’Edit de Nantes: Une foi, une loi, un roi? (Paris, 1990), 8891 ; Cabanel, Patrick, Histoire des protestants en France, XVIe–XXIe siècle (Paris, 2012), 543646 .

86 Bossuet, Jacques-Benigne, Lettre pastorale de M. l’Evèque de Meaux aux nouveaux catholiques de son diocèse, in Oeuvres complètes de Bossuet , ed. Lachat, F., 31 vols. (Paris, 1862–79), 17: 243–74, at 245. See also Rosa, Susan, “Bossuet, James II, and the Crisis of Catholic Universalism,” Eighteenth-Century Thought, 1 (2003), 37121 .

87 “On peut discourir sans fin: nous avons tout dit . . . et on ne ferait que recommencer.” Quoted in Kappler, Emile, Les conférences théologiques entre catholiques et protestants en France au XVIIe siècle (Paris, 2011), 207 . Bossuet's printed account of the debate ran to over five hundred pages; Claude's printed reply, correcting Bossuet's account, to over 650 pages. See Jacques-Benigne, Bossuet, Conférence avec M. Claude, ministre de Charenton, sur la matiere de l’Eglise (Paris, 1682); Claude, Jean, Réponse au livre de Monsieur l’Evesque de Meaux intitulé Conférence avec M. Claude (Charenton, 1683).

88 Besides “le son qui frappe l’oreille,” there must be “une voix secrète qui parle intérieurement, et que ce discours spirituel et intérieur, c’est la véritable prédication, sans laquelle tout ce que disent les hommes ne sera qu’un bruit inutile.” Jacques-Benigne, Sermon sur la parole de Dieu (1661), quoted by Meyer, Jean, Bossuet (Paris, 1993), 124–5.

89 Remarks Meyer, “Nous sommes, en réalité, en présence d’une théorie bien spécifique de la communication.” Meyer, Bossuet, 123–4.

90 On Calvin's attitude toward Catholics see Crouzet, Denis, Dieu en ses royaumes: Une histoire des guerres de religion (Paris, 2008), 137–73. See also e.g. Marshall, Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture, 197–223. Those who followed Augustine, Marshall remarks (ibid., 208), believed that “without grace they [human beings] tended to adopt beliefs because these beliefs appealed to their corrupt passions.” Gregory the Great, in his Moralia in Job (c.600 CE), from allegorical interpretation of certain passages in Scripture, concluded that “heretics for the most part in their words pursue worldly gains alone, and, knowing full well that they are raising up perversity, nevertheless do not forsake the teaching of errors, while they wish to gain the rewards of would-be learned men.” Quoted in Laistner, M. L. W., Thought and Letters in Western Europe, A.D. 500 to 900, revised edn (Ithaca, NY, 1957), 105–6.

91 Kaplan, Divided by Faith, 19, emphasis added.

92 Christin, Olivier, Confesser sa foi: Conflits confessionnels et identités religieuses dans l’Europe modern (XVIe–XVIIe siècles) (Paris, 2009), 117–44.

93 Pierre, Benoist, “La parole publique des prédicateurs royaux au temps des guerres de Religion: L’exemple d’Arnaud Sorbin (1532–1606),” in Simiz, Stefano, ed., La parole publique en ville: Des Réformes à la Révolution (Villeneuve d’Ascq, 2012), 6184 .

94 See the discussion of debates over Christian eloquence of the 1670s and 1680s in Whelan, Anatomy of Superstition, 107–16.

95 Quoted in Meyer, Bossuet, 124, emphasis added: “car il s’élève souvent dans les coeurs certaines imitations des sentiments véritables par lesquels un homme se trompe lui-même; si bien qu’il ne faut pas croire en certains ferveurs, ni quelques désirs imparfaits.”

96 On changing attitudes toward miracles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries see Kaplan, Divided by Faith, 32–3; Yardeni, Miriam, “Guerre de propagande et signes de dieu à l’époque de la Ligue,” in Demerson, Geneviève and Dompnier, Bernard, eds., Les signes de Dieu aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles: Actes du colloque organisé par le Centre de recherches sur la Réforme et la Contre-Réforme (Clermont-Ferrand, 1993), 103–12; Lagrée, Jacqueline, Spinoza et le débat religieux: Lectures du Traité théologico-politique (Rennes, 2004), 84–5, 106–7, 133–7, 162–76. Entry points on the considerable scholarship on medieval miracles include Delaurenti, Béatrice, La puissance des mots, “Virtus Verborum”: Débats doctrinaux sur le pouvoir des incantations au Moyen Age (Paris, 2007); Sigal, Pierre-André, L’homme et le miracle dans la France médiévale (XIe–XIIe siècle) (Paris, 1985); Goodich, Michael E., Miracles and Wonders: The Development of the Concept of the Miracle, 1150–1350 (Aldershot, 2007); Congrès des médiévistes de l’enseignement supérieure, Miracles, prodiges et merveilles au Moyen Age: XXVe Congrès de la S.H.M.E.S.: Orléans, juin 1994 (Paris, 1995); Bozóky, Edina, Le Moyen Age miraculeux: Etudes sur les légendes et les croyances médiévales (Paris, 2010).

97 Bost, Pierre Bayle, 281–7.

98 Bayle, Pierre, Commentaire philosophique sur ces paroles de Jésus-Christ, “Contrains-les d’entrer” (1686), here cited from Pierre Bayle, Oeuvres diverses, 3 vols. (The Hague, 1737), 2: 355540, at 367–8. Hereafter CP. This edition used the same page plates as the 1727 The Hague edition of the Oeuvres diverses. The Hathi Trust scan of vol. 2, used here, is from the 1737 printing. All translations by the author. On earlier seventeenth-century thinkers who made similar claims for philosophy see Lagrée, La raison ardente.

99 E.g. CP, 398, 399, 438. Bayle's thinking obviously relied in part on the growing body of critical and historical scholarship on the Bible that was appearing in his time, especially Richard Simon's Histoire critique de Vieux Testament (1678). See Popkin, Richard, The History of Skepticism from Savonarola to Bayle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 225–9; Woodbridge, John D., “La ‘grande chasse aux manuscrits’: La controverse eucharistique et Richard Simon,” in Elyada, Ouzi and Le Brun, Jacques, eds., Conflits politiques, controverses religieuses: Essais d’histoire européenne aux 16e–18e siècles (Paris, 2002), 143–75; Whelan, Anatomy of Superstition, 146–58.

100 CP, 427–30. These examples are also discussed in Pierre Bayle, Nouvelles lettres de l’auteur de la Critique générale de l’Histoire du Calvinisme, Letter IX, in Bayle, Oeuvres diverses, 2: 221–5.

101 These passages are discussed (but without reference to speech act theory) in Kilcullen, John, Sincerity and Truth: Essays on Arnauld, Bayle, and Toleration (Oxford, 1988), 62–7.

102 CP, 439: “Il n’est pas nécessaire que j’avertisse mon Lecteur que je n’exclus pas la grace de l’acte qui nous fait adhérez aux véritez revélées. Je veux bien que ce soit elle qui nous fasse sentir que tel ou tel sens de l’Ecriture est véritable, & qui nous modifie de telle maniere que précisément le sens qui est vrai nous paroisse vrai. Mais je dis que la grace qui produit ce sentiment, ne fait pas pour cela que nous connoissions aucune preuve certaine & omni exceptione majore [i.e. without contradiction] du sens que nous croïons vrai.”

103 Ibid., 439: “nous demeurons convaincus que c’est pourtant une vérité révelée. Ce sera un effet de la grace, tant que l’on voudra; à Dieu ne plaise que je le conteste.” But an interior sentiment, a conviction of conscience, is also a “marque qui se trouve dans les hommes les plus hérétiques.”

104 Ibid., 408–10.

105 Ibid., 372–3. The idea that miracles were not as common as in earlier times, widely accepted by Protestants, acquired additional force in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War. Bayle, like Locke and others, subscribed to this view. See Lagrée, La raison ardente, 67–80; Meyer, Bossuet, 159; Cabanel, Histoire des protestants en France, 641; Mooney, T. Brian and Imbrosciano, Anthony, “The Curious Case of Mr. Locke's Miracles,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 57/3 (2005), 147–68; Ryan, Todd, “Bayle's Critique of Lockean Superaddition,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 36/4 (2006), 511–34; Ayers, M. R., “Mechanism, Superaddition, and the Proof of God's Existence in Locke's Essay,” Philosophical Review, 90/2 (1981), 210–51.

106 For the historical background on errors of conscience see Luria, Keith P., “Conversion and Coercion: Personal Conscience and Political Conformity in Early Modern France,” Medieval History Journal, 12/2 (2009), 221–47.

107 Hobbes, Thomas, The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic, ed. Tönnies, Ferdinand, 2nd edn (London, 1969), Epistle Dedicatory, xv, quoted in James, Susan, Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Oxford, 1997), 162 .

108 Marshall, John, John Locke: Resistance, Religion and Responsibility (Cambridge, 1994), 13 , quoting from the first of Locke's unpublished Two Tracts upon Government of 1660.

109 Pierre Bayle, Addition aux pensées diverses, in Bayle, Oeuvres diverses, 3: 178, quoted in Whelan, Anatomy of Superstition, 67: “Ils se contentent de persuader par l’entremise des passions; ils vont droit au coeur, & non pas droit à l’entendement; ils tâchent d’exciter l’amour, la haine, la colere.”

110 Locke, John, A Letter Concerning Toleration (Huddersfield, 1796), 22–3.

111 CP, 415.

112 E.g. ibid., 440.

113 Quoted in Bost, Pierre Bayle, 254.

114 CP, 444: “affreuse et lamentable désolation.”

115 Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 94.

116 This discussion of the Bayle–Jurieu dispute follows Bost, Pierre Bayle, 301–85.

117 Quoted in Bost, Pierre Bayle, 341: “en avérant, par des signes non équivoques, que Dieu lui a tellement conféré le don de prophétie qu’il voit dans le coeur des gens tout ce qui s’y passe. S’il ne fait pas plus de miracles que Moïse, on ne le croira pas sur sa parole douée de cette prérogative, s’étant trompé si souvent.”

118 The phrase is from Scott, James C., Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven, 1987).

119 Skinner, Quentin, Liberty before Liberalism (Cambridge, 1998), 116 , added emphasis; see also Skinner, Quentin's four essays reprinted as “Quentin Skinner on Interpretation,” in Tully, James, ed., Meaning & Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics (Princeton, 1988), 29132, on language games esp. 50–56.

120 Skinner, “Quentin Skinner on Interpretation,” esp. 68–78; Gautier, Claude, “Texte, contexte et intention illocutoire de l’auteur: Les enjeux du programme méthodologique de Quentin Skinner,” Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 2 (2004), 175–92.

121 Hesse, Carla, for example, has tracked changing concepts of authorship in the past, in Publishing and Cultural Politics in Revolutionary France, 1789–1810 (Berkeley, CA, 1991); see also Hesse, The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern (Princeton, 2001).

122 See, for example, Maza, Sarah C., Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Célèbres of Prerevolutionary France (Berkeley, CA, 1993); Goodman, Dena, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca, NY, 1994); Dubois, Laurent, “An Enslaved Enlightenment: Rethinking the Intellectual History of the French Atlantic,” Social History, 31/1 (2006), 114 ; Rosenfeld, Sophia A., Common Sense: A Political History (Cambridge, MA, 2011).

123 Hintikka, Jaako, “Cogito, Ergo Sum: Inference or Performance?Philosophical Review, 71/1 (1962), 332 ; Popkin, History of Skepticism.

124 Skinner, “Quentin Skinner on Interpretation,” 55 and n. 155.

125 See Martin, John's discussion of the “porosity” of early modern souls in his Myths of Renaissance Individualism (Houndmills, 2004).

126 On emotional styles see Reddy, William M., The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions (Cambridge, 2001); Rosenwein, Barbara H., Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY, 2006); Eustace, Nicole, Lean, Eugenia, Livingston, Julie, Plamper, Jan, Reddy, William M., and Rosenwein, Barbara H., “ AHR Conversation: The Historical Study of Emotions,” American Historical Review, 117/5 (Dec. 2012), 14871531 . On method in the history of emotions more generally see also Gross, Daniel M., The Secret History of Emotions: From Aristotle's Rhetoric to Modern Brain Science (Chicago, 2006); Plamper, Jan, Geschichte und Gefühl: Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte (Munich, 2012).

127 Reddy, Navigation of Feeling.

* Earlier versions of this paper were presented to the Ve Rencontre EMMA, Histoire intellectuelle des émotions, de l’antiquité à nos jours, in Paris, May 2013; to the Center for the Humanities, Washington University in Saint Louis, in March 2014; to the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of French History, in Durham, England, in July 2014; and to the Department of History of the University at Buffalo, New York, in September 2014. I am grateful to the participants in these sessions for their useful comments, as well as to the editors of Modern Intellectual History for their careful evaluation of an earlier draft. I would also like to thank the participants in my graduate seminar entitled “What Is Modernity?” at Duke University in fall semester, 2013.

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