Philosophic Thought in France and the United States: Essays Representing Major Trends in Contemporary French and American Philosophy

By Marvin Farber | Go to book overview

THE PRESENT SITUATION AND THE PRESENT FUTURE OF FRENCH PHILOSOPHY

Jean Wahl*

Let us see what has become of the most important tendencies of which Mr. Havet has spoken, and first of what he has called "The Spiritualistic Realism of Bergson." Although this philosophy did so much for the liberation of the mind, we have to take account of the fact that on some very important problems it gives quite definite conclusions which one has to adopt if one wishes to be called a Bergsonian. So, there are not many disciples of Bergson in the quite strict sense of the word. But first there are important works dedicated to the study of his philosophy; let us mention two of them. The very beautiful book of Thibaudet, Le bergsonisme, with many rich developments bearing on the relations between Bergson and the other great philosophers from Parmenides and Heraclitus to Spencer and Hegel; and the one of Jankélévitch with its deep probings into the most difficult regions of Bergsonian thought. Secondly, we have the growth of the conceptions of Le Roy. Thirdly, Dr. Minkowski has continued his endeavor toward the foundation of a Bergsonian psychiatry, the enlargement of the conception of a qualitative time with recognition of qualitative space, and the formulation in Bergsonian language of the idea of "Being in the world." So, he arrives at a combination of psychological and cosmological ideas. Fourthly, we have to take account of the influence, not always clearly recognized, of Bergson

____________________
*
Born in 1888. Professor at the Sorbonne. Ousted from the Sorbonne by the Vichy government, by order of the Germans; imprisoned by the Germans in 1941 as an active anti-collborationist. Owed his life to friends who secured for him an appointment as a professor in the New School for Social Research, New York. Dr. Wahl also taught at Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Chicago. Upon his return to Paris, he founded the Collage Philosophique. Author of Pluralistic Philosophies in England and America (published in English), Vers le concert, Études Kierkegaardiennes, The Philosopher's Way (published in English), and of numerous other works, including 2 book of poems ( Connaître sans connaître, 1938).

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