Le Senne, René

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Le Senne, René


Born July 8, 1882, in Elbeuf; died Oct. 1, 1954, in Paris. French idealist philosopher. Proponent of existential spiritualism. Member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques (1948). Professor at the Sorbonne (1929–31 and from 1942). President of the International Institute of Philosophy (1952–53).

According to Le Senne, when human personality clashes with obstacles contained in experience, it splits into the ego defined by value and the ego causally determined. Value links the transcendental absolute and immanent human consciousness, which experiences value in a specific historical situation. The hierarchy of values proceeds from god. Man, consistently actualizing values in his determined experience, must ascend to the “highest and indivisible value”—god.

Le Senne is also known for his works in characterology. He viewed character as the totality of inborn traits, a type of “spiritual skeleton” of man; personality is seen as the totality of qualities developed by man in the course of his life. Character and personality are two poles of the human ego. Le Senne’s ideas had some influence on French educational theory of the mid-20th century.


Introduction a la philosophic Paris, 1925.
Le Mensonge et le caractère. Paris, 1930.
Obstacle et valeur. Paris, 1934.
Traité de morale générale. Paris, 1942.
Traité de caractérologie, 2nd ed. Paris, 1946.
Le Devoir, 2nd ed. Paris, 1950.
La Destinée personnelle. Paris, 1951.
La Découverte de Dieu. Paris, 1955.


Paumen, J. Le Spiritualisme existentiel de R. Le Senne. Paris, 1949.
Centineo, E. R. Le Senne. Palermo, 1952.
Devaux, A. Le Senne ou le Combat pour la spiritualisation. Paris, 1968.


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