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Look Inside French Philosophy in the Twentieth Century

French Philosophy in the Twentieth Century


  • Date Published: May 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521662123

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About the Authors
  • In this book Gary Gutting tells, clearly and comprehensively, the story of French philosophy from 1890 to 1990. He examines the often neglected background of spiritualism, university idealism, and early philosophy of science, and also discusses the privileged role of philosophy in the French education system. Taking account of this background, together with the influences of avant-garde literature and German philosophy, he develops a rich account of existential phenomenology, which he argues is the central achievement of French thought during the century, and of subsequent structuralist and poststructuralist developments. His discussion includes chapters on Bergson, Sartre, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Derrida, with sections on other major thinkers including Lyotard, Deleuze, Irigaray, Levinas, and Ricoeur. He offers challenging analyses of the often misunderstood relationship between existential phenomenology and structuralism and of the emergence of poststructuralism. Finally, he sketches the major current trends of French philosophy.

    • Comprehensive survey of twentieth-century French thought, including first proper treatment in English of the neglected early years
    • Clear and accessible discussions of difficult thinkers such as Sartre, Foucault, Derrida
    • Challenging accounts of the significance of existentialism, structuralism and poststructuralism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This very important review of philosophy in France from 1890 to 1990 will be of great value to newcomers and specialists … With helpful notes and a good index and bibliography, even those who object to some of Gutting's interpretations or criticisms will find this a valuable resource.' A. D. Schrift, Grinnell College

    'Gutting's book is the most accomplished and wide-ranging study of its subject yet written. … Gutting's clearly written and well-organised book fully deserves a prominent place on any reading list for teachers and students of modern French thought.' Modern and Comtemporary France

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2001
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521662123
    • length: 436 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 161 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.805kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Philosophers of the Third Republic (1890–1940):
    1. Fin-de-siècle: the professors of the republic
    2. Science and idealism
    3. Bergson
    4. Between the wars
    Part II. The Reign of Existential Phenomenology (1940–60):
    5. Sartre
    6. Beauvoir
    7. Merleau-Ponty
    Part III. Structuralism and Beyond (1960–90):
    8. The structuralist invasion
    9. Foucault
    10. Derrida
    11. Philosophies of difference
    12. Fin-de-siècle again: le temps retrouvé?
    Conclusion: the philosophy of freedom
    Appendix: philosophy and the French educational system.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Pluralism & Conflict
  • Author

    Gary Gutting, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

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