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

CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHY IN FRANCE

Henry Duméry*

Those who look upon Christian philosophies from the standpoint of an outsider are apt to confuse them one with another: for have they not the common will to reserve a place, beyond that accorded reason, for the legitimate functioning of a superior order? However, as soon as these philosophies are scrutinized from within, it is at once recognized that, while alike as Christian, they are, nevertheless, different as philosophies. The explanation of this is simple: a philosophy is to be judged by its methods and its inner logic, not by its results, however important these may be. It is not, then, surprising that one finds, in France, many thinkers who are brothers in belief and antagonists in philosophy. By this very fact, they make manifest that Catholic doctrine does not lend itself to a sole and invariable projection on the plane of reason. Not only does the diversity of their philosophical perspectives fail to injure their community of faith, but it clearly establishes its transcendence. It is, therefore, possible to present the Catholic thinkers of present-day France, in all their individual originality, without fearing--indeed, quite to the contrary--to cast reflection upon the purity of their Christian inspiration.

In order to avoid the easy fashion of a catalogue, we shall, in this chapter, limit ourselves to the mention of very few names. It is preferable to be very incomplete than to be superficial. Moreover, the merit of those workers who are not mentioned here cannot, by this fact, be diminished: what is said cannot prejudice that which is left unsaid of necessity. Limit-

____________________
*
Born in 1920. Doctor of the University of Paris; Professor, Stanislas College; Director of Studies (philosophy section) of E.A.F.; Secretary of the Catholic School of Family Sciences. Author of La philosophie de l'action, Les trois tentations de l'apostolate moderne, L'itinéraire de l'esprit vers Dieu d'aprèS St. Bonaventure (forthcoming).

-219-

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