Lavelle, Louis

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lavelle, Louis


Born July 15, 1883, in Saint-Martin-de-Villeréal; died Sept. 1, 1951, in Parranquet. French philosopher. One of the founders of the “philosophy of the spirit.” Professor at the Collège de France (1941). Member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques (1947).

Contrasting the Protagorean (anthropocentric) tradition of philosophy with the Platonic tradition, Lavelle classified his own philosophy with the latter. He was influenced by the ideas of M. F. Maine de Biran, G. W. von Leibniz, and F. W. von Schelling. At the center of his theory was the concept of the act, which refers to being that grasps the meaning of itself and is inseparable from thought. Being is revealed in phenomena by human thinking, which participates in being. According to Lavelle, the individual consciousness, overcoming its isolation and empiricism, “intimately” as it were, includes itself in being, participating in the “pure and infinite act” (that is, the being of god). The pure and infinite act, at the same time, grants each individual consciousness the freedom to separate from it and become an isolated act. On the whole, Lavelle’s philosophy combines elements of Bergsonianism and Christian existentialism.


La Présence totale. Paris, 1934.
La Philosophie française entre les deux guerres. Paris, 1942.
La Dialectique de l’éternel présent, vols. 1–4. Paris, 1945–51.
Introduction à l’ontologie. Paris, 1947.
La Conscience de soi. Paris, 1951.
La Parole et récriture. Paris, 1951.
La Dialectique du monde sensible, 2nd ed. Paris, 1954.
De l’intimité spirituelle. Paris, 1955.
Traité des valeurs, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1951–55.
Morale et religion. Paris, 1960.


Popovych, M. V. Pokhid proty rozumu. Kiev, 1960.
Ecole, J. La Métaphysique de l’être dans la philosophie de L. Lavelle. Louvain-Paris, 1957.
Levert, P. L’Affirmation de l’être et le problème du réel dans la philosophie de L. Lavelle. Paris, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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