Early Modern French Thought

Early Modern French Thought : The Age of Suspicion

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This book is an examination of three major French thinkers of the seventeenth century, Descartes, Pascal, and Malebranche, of whom the latter two are comparatively little studied in the English-speaking world. It deals with a common attitude of suspicion towards everyday experience, which they see as dominated and obscured by sensation, imagination, and the presence of the body. This attitude, however, obliges them to develop detailed and sophisticated accounts of
the shaping of experience not only by the body but by interpersonal and social relationships, and of the tension between human nature as it is and as we experience it. The treatment of Descartes thus challenges the interpretation that sees him as eliminating the body from 'subjectivity', while that of
Pascal and Malebranche shows how their critical attitude towards experience (a fertile source for twentieth-century French thinkers) is linked with their religious doctrines, especially their Augustinian emphasis on Original Sin.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 144 x 223 x 20mm | 473g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0199261466
  • 9780199261468

Table of contents

A note on translations and references ; List of abbreviations ; Introduction ; 1. Theology and History in Seventeenth-Century France: Problems and Perspectives ; 2. Descartes forma futuri ; 3. Pascal's Critique of Experience ; 4. Malebranche: 'What is Falsely Called Experience' ; Conclusion ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index
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Review quote

...a rich and illuminating work, of the type that can only be produced by an author who completely understands his subject. * Jane Conroy, Journal of French Studies *
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About Michael Moriarty

Michael Moriarty is Head of the School of Modern Languages and Professor of French Literature and Thought at Queen Mary, University of London. His previous publications include Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France (CUP 1988) and Roland Barthes (Polity 1991).
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