French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism

French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism

French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism

French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism

Synopsis

Since its publication in France in 1985, this critique of the main currents in contemporary French thought has prompted debate over the character of postmodern philosophy. Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut offer sociopolitical analysis of the May 1968 student uprising in France, explore the connection between the revolt and the rise of postmodern thought, and question whether student dissent was a genuine humanist reaction to conditions in France at that time.

Excerpt

It would have been beyond the reach of this study to review exhaustively the numerous interpretations inspired by the crisis of 1968; nor could we have suddenly claimed to produce a new interpretation. It seemed to us more credible and more effective, in view of the apparently irreducible diversity of the existing interpretations, to search for a guiding principle or thread that might allow us to structure this diversity and, on that basis, understand it. Discovering, what motivates the diversity and what is in play, we would then be better able to orient ourselves to it and to pose more thoughtfully the problem of choice among possible interpretations. These days we are well aware that the interpretation of any historical phenomenon poses complex problems, traditionally summarized as the question of objectivity in interpretation: If the historian's work is no longer believed to consist of merely recording a brute fact and "reproducing the reality of the past as it happened," as in the naively positivist view, the objectivity intended requires that the point of view or perspective from which the research will be conducted first be objectified. the theory of these points of view or perspectives can be called the logic of interpretations. in view of the amazing diversity of the interpretations of May '68, which have produced absolutely antithetical descriptions of the events, it seemed particularly desirable to propose a logic of our interpretative field at the start.

The Logic of Interpretations

The presentation of such a logic presupposes the existence of a primary material. in this case it is furnished in part by a valuable inventory of interpretations of the May movement by P. Bénéton and . . .

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