Advertisement

From Education to Criticism: Lenglet

  • Gabriel Motzkin
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 1)

Abstract

Nicolas Lenglet du Fresnoy was almost a precise contemporary of SaintSimon’s. Yet the work he wrote that we shall consider was not a memoir. It was rather a guidebook for learning history, drawing upon a tradition of such guides. Lenglet’s guide included bibliographical essays on all the major domains and periods of history. Here we shall only consider the relatively few chapters he devoted to historical perspective in his Méthode pour etudier l’ histoire.1 Drawing on an old rhetorical tradition, and especially on the quite different De l’usage de l’ histoire composed in 1671 by César Vichard de Saint-Real, Lenglet also began with the claim that the instructive aim of studying history is in order to know oneself (I, 3), a claim that Saint-Simon was too clever to make. Yet even for Saint-Real the purpose of studying history was no longer that of studying the best management of public affairs, although Saint-Real still believed that a knowledge of human nature was available through the study of history; history was still supposed to be empirically useful. Lenglet’s idea of the relation between the development of the self and the purpose of the study of history was somewhat different. The self for Lenglet has other purposes than success in manipulation.

Keywords

Historical Context Contingent Event Original Event Historical Science Subjective Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Nicolas Lenglet du Fresnoy, Méthode pour étudier l’histoire (1st. ed.: Paris, 1713, edition quoted in text, Paris: Pierre Gandouin, 1729, 1735, refs. in notes also to 1737 ed.). See also the English translation: Richard Rawlinson, A New Method 0f Studying History, Geography and Chronology by M. Languet du Fresnoy (sic) (London: Cha. Davis, 1730), v. I.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    M. H. Abrams, op. cit., pp. 32–37.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lenglet, op. cit., (1729), v. II., p. 375; (1737), v. V., p. 173.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Saint-Réal, op. cit., Discours VI, p. 71.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Franèois, duc de la Rochefoucauld, Oeuvres complètes (paris: Gallimard, 1964), p. 43.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    René Démoris, Le roman à la premiére personne. Du Classicisme aux Lumiéres (Paris: Armand Colin, 1975), p. 65 et seq.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cardinal de Retz, Oeuvres (Paris: Gallimard, 1984), pp. 289–290. Also, La Rochefoucauld, op. cit., pp. 7-9.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Saint-Réal, op. cit., Discours VII, p. 82. The theme of the last discourse is the fallibility of the ascription of human motives to the Divine. Saint-Réal views projection as humanity’s basic epistemological sin.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1962, 1963). Michel Foucault, L’Archeologie du savoir (paris: Gallimard, 1969).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses (Paris: Gallimard, 1966), ch. 1. Eng. trans. as: The Order 0f Things. An Archaeology 0f the Human Sciences (New York: Random House, 1970), ch. 1. See also: Martin Kemp, The Science 0f Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990); Hubert Damisch, L’ origine de la perspective (Paris: Flammarion, 1987). The literature on the cultural significance of perspective is now quite extensive. There is some debate about the scope of the claims that should be made for the cultural significance of the discovery of perspective. From the point of view of the scientific revolution, the discovery of perspective appears to be important, but not the one decisive stepping-stone. The point being made here is about the relevance of perspective for the development of an historical consciousness which, while influenced by the growth of the natural scienees, is not identieal with them for the reasons adumbrated in the text. Empirical study of this phenomenon would foeus on the linkage between aesthetic sensibility and historical memoirs in the late seventeenth-eentury.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Phillipe Ariès, Un historien du dimanche (paris: Seuil, 1980), pp. 13–20.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    For example Karl Löwith, Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949); also as: Weltgeschichte und Heilsgeschehen; die theologischen Voraussetzungen der Geschichtsphilosophie (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1953).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (Die Legitimität der Neuzeit), Eng. trans. Robert M. Wallace (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1983), argues a similar position, but with other assumptions about the character of secularization.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lenglet, op. cit., v. 11, p. 406; (1737), V, p. 227.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Immanuel Kant, Critik der Urtheilskraft (Berlin und Libau: bei Lagarde und Friedrich, 1790).Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Hennann Cohen, Das Prineip der Infinitesimal-Methode und seine Geschichte; ein Kapitel zur Grundlegung der Erkenntniskritik (Berlin: F. Dümmler, 1883).Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Arthur O. Lovejoy, op. cit., p. 52 et seq.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses, op. cit. Amos Funkenstein, op. cit.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Wilhelm Dilthey, Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften. Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte. Erster Band (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1883).Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit. (Halle a. d. S.: Max Niemeyer, 1927). Sonderdruck aus dem Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung, Bd. 8, 1927, hrsg. E. Husserl. Freiburg i. B. Jean-Paul Sartre, L’ Étre et le Néant, essai d’ ontologie phénomenologique (Paris: Gallimard, 1943).Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Fernand Braudel, La Méiterranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’ époque de Philippe II (paris: Colin, 1949).Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Harry W. Paul, The Edge of Contingency: French Catholic Reaction to Scientific Change from Darwin to Duhem (Gainesville: University ofFlorida Press, 1979).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Motzkin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations