Léon Brunschvicg

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Brunschvicg, Léon


Born Nov. 10, 1869, in Paris; died there Feb. 18, 1944. French philosopher. Representative of so-called critical rationalism. From 1909 a professor at the Sorbonne.

Brunschvicg asserted the need to introduce the scientific method into philosophy in The Modality of Judgment (1897). However, for Brunschvicg, who had been influenced by the transcendental idealism of I. Kant, the scientific method (science) was the activity of reason, which is independent of the objective world, and which itself establishes the principles of its movement. These ideas were set forth in Introduction to the Life of the Spirit (1900). Brunschvicg, furthermore, was naively and optimistically convinced that the development of scientific knowledge ensures moral progress. According to Brunschvicg, reason, which gradually passes from direct perception of the external traits of reality to an ever more profound knowledge of its essence, also has an ethical function, leading toward refinement of conscience and recognition of moral autonomy as well as other spiritual values.


Les Progrès de la conscience dans la philosophic occidentale. Paris, 1927.
Les Étapes de la philosophic mathématique, 3rd ed. Paris, 1929.
La Raison et la religion. Paris, 1939.


Deschoux, M. La Philosophic de L. Brunschvicg. Paris, 1949.
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They continue Merleau-Ponty's battle against the auto-constituting subject, but by concentrating their attack on Husserl, rather than on Brunschvicg (who is quickly forgotten), and by radicalizing this attack: being in the world does not sufficiently alter the subject.
In short, Brunschvicg promoted a subject that is very different from the formal Kantian subject that was taken over by the German neo-Kantians.
Le lecteur attend aussi peut-etre une incursion dans l'atmosphere emblematique parisienne (et non seulement) des annees '20 et '30, attente qui ne sera pas satisfaite, le texte ne s'eloignant jamais des articles de Brunschvicg, et des evenements politiques en etroite liaison avec les objectifs des feministes.
Il y a aussi dans les comparaisons entre pays, du debut a la fin, une tendance a mettre en evidence les succes plus importants et une meilleure situation des feministes dans d'autres pays que la France, par exemple lors de la visite de Brunschvicg en Roumanie, en 1933, ou lorsqu'elle compare la situation financiere des feministes francaises avec celle des Americaines ou Anglaises au moment ou il s'agit de disposer d'argent pour leur propagande.
John Duncan has done an excellent job of demonstrating how this fascination with contingency marked every stage of Sartre's philosophical development, from his study of Nietzsche under Leon Brunschvicg in the mid-1920s onward.
Louis Lafuma (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1962), fragment 199 [72 in the Brunschvicg ed.
For the importance of Montaigne's ethical skepticism for Descartes, see Leon Brunschvicg, Descartes et Pascal: Lecteurs de Montaigne (Neuchatel: Baconniere, 1945); Weintraub, The Value of the Individual, 173, 177-8.
This is fragment number 136 in the Lafuma edition of the Pensees, number 139 in that of Brunschvicg, and number 168 in that of Sellier.
7) Multiple schemes for numbering Pascal's Pensees exist; the first number given is the Brunschvicg number, used in the Larousse edition, while the second is the Chevalier number, used in the Testi a ponte edition of Bausola (who includes a concordance of these numbering systems on pages 533-36).
The immediate interest of this pamphlet lies in Blanchot's self-positioning vis-a-vis intellectual figures such as Simone Well, Leon Brunschvicg, Drieu La Rochelle, Rene Char, Levinas, and still others, and in his three summary conclusions.
Jeanne de Maguerie, a correspondent of the suffragist Cecile Brunschvicg, responded that learning only household tasks was com mendable as a first step, but insufficient and infantilizing for women.