Pascalian Meditations by Pierre Bourdieu

By Pierre Bourdieu

A synthesis of 40 years' paintings by means of France's major sociologist, this publication pushes the critique of scholarly cause to a brand new point. it's a fabulous instance of Bourdieu's designated skill to hyperlink sociological concept, historic details, and philosophical thought.

Pascalian Meditations makes particular the presuppositions of a country of "scholasticism," a definite rest liberated from the urgencies of the realm. Philosophers, unwilling to interact those presuppositions of their perform, have introduced them into the order of discourse, now not a lot to research them as to valid them. this case is the first systematic, epistemological, moral, and aesthetic errors that Bourdieu matters to methodological critique.

This critique of scholarly cause is performed within the identify of Pascal simply because he, too, mentioned the beneficial properties of human life that the scholastic outlook ignores: he used to be eager about symbolic strength; he refused the temptation of foundationalist considering; he attended (without populist naïveté) to "ordinary people"; and he was resolute to hunt the raison d'être of probably illogical habit instead of condemning or mocking it.

Through this critique, Bourdieu charts a unfavourable philosophy that calls into query a few of our such a lot primary presuppositions, akin to a "subject" who's unfastened and self-aware. This philosophy, with its highbrow debt to such different "heretical" philosophers as Wittgenstein, Austin, Dewey, and Peirce, renews conventional wondering of the innovations of violence, strength, time, heritage, the common, and the aim and course of existence.

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Recently rereading Durkheim's The Evolution of Educational Thought, I was again struck by his splendid evocation of how educated men of the sixteenth century discovered that I call scholastic: 'It seems then, in a general century, at least whose ideas ... )15 Perspective, in its historical definition, is no doubt the most accom­ plished realization of the scholastic vision. It presupposes a single, ""tlp,jrr~ The Evolution o{ Educational and Kegan Paul, 1977), pp. 218-19. tr. P. Collins 22 Critique of Scholastic Reason fixed point of view and therefore the adoption of the posture of a motionless spectator installed at a point (of view) - and also the use of a frame that cuts out, encloses and abstracts the spectacle with a rigorous, immobile boundary.

Philosophy and the history of philosophy are the image of one another. ' Just when one seems closest to a banally historical history of philosophy, one remains separated from it toto coe/o, as Hegel liked to say, because this very particular history is in fact ahistorical. The chronological order of the unfolding of philosophies is also a logical order; and the necessary sequence of philosophies, which is that of Mind developing according to its own law, has primacy over the secondary relationship between the various philosophies and the societies from which they arose.

29 The identification of the universal with the 'inauthentic' is expressed with particu­ lar clarity in Heidegger's correspondence with Elisabeth Blochmann: 'The new life that we want, or rather that wants to germinate in us, has renounced the aim of being universal, that is to say inauthentic, and extensive' (d. M. Heidegger, Correspondance avec Karl Jaspers, suivi de Correspondance avec Elisabeth Blochmann (Paris: Gallimard, 1996), pp. 216-17 and also 267-8). l l Critique of Scholastic Reason 27 European Sciences.

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