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« Si j'étais prince ou législateur, je ne perdrais pas mon temps à dire ce qu'il faut faire...» Écriture philosophique et transformation politique en France, 1750-1780

Abstract : What is the purpose of the philosopher in politics? We examine the way in which this question has been posed and the way in which it was answered in France in the years from the mid-18th century to about 1780. For a context characterized both by the omnipresence of philosophical discourse and its lack of autonomy, we put forward our understanding of the way the possible effects of the political writings of philosophers are identified. Two problems then arise. On the one hand, there is the question of determining under what condition philosophical discourse on politics is deemed useful, and what type of hold it must have on its object to be evaluated as such. On the other hand, the question of the effects produced by the text should invite us to consider how the relationship between the philosopher and his readers is established through the text: how are the ideas communicated, and what are the direct consequences? What is the relationship between knowledge and action?Our investigation has taken two subsequent approaches. First, we sought to identify the terms in which the question of the effects of political works written by philosophers was raised in the second half of the eighteenth century. This has enabled us to highlight the fact that the usefulness of writing is envisaged in two dimensions: insofar as it is likely to affect the world but also insofar as it is likely to contribute to the progress of knowledge and to fuel an intellectual debate. In either case, the form and style of the work are considered central to ensure its effect on the reader and encourage him to think. In a second phase, we sought out examples of a particular genre: Rousseau and Diderot's writing on Corsica, Poland and Russia allowed us to analyze how the counseling philosopher defines his role in relation to the legislator but also attempts to elaborate a language which at the same time allows him to grasp his object in its singularity and to make himself heard by his reader. These two approaches have shown us a distinct sphere of the philosopher's word in politics. While keeping his distance from action, the philosopher is the man of truth; the gradual contestation of the reference to the philosopher as legislator leaves room for a critical use of knowledge. The political fecundity of the philosophical word then appears not in its capacity to institute but rather to facilitate imagining other possible institutions.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 3:02:07 PM
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Ariane Revel. « Si j'étais prince ou législateur, je ne perdrais pas mon temps à dire ce qu'il faut faire...» Écriture philosophique et transformation politique en France, 1750-1780. Philosophie. Université Paris-Est, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PESC0083⟩. ⟨tel-01938215⟩



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