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Marks of positivism in Renouvier's neocriticism

Marques de positivisme dans le néocriticisme de Renouvier

Samuel-Gaston Amet


Charles Renouvier would not have accepted the thesis – that I want to defend and that I will support with quotations extracted from his major texts – without reservation. To be considered as one of the founders of the French philosophy of science would not have displeased him. But he would also have added that a philosophy of science has to be necessarily subordinated to a philosophy of knowledge, which is his real contribution. To be considered as a neopositivist would not have had his immediate approval either. On the contrary, he considered himself as an opponent of Auguste Comte, whose arguments have been mainly refuted by him. Of course, Renouvier cannot be reduced to these two characteristics. His work was not limited to epistemology and he left a much more important mark on the French history of ideas. However, the work he did in this direction is undeniable. Renouvier was regularly on the side of positivism, but he often differentiated himself from it and he frequently marked its limit too. In a way, his phenomenalism and his neocriticism validate and reinforce some founding principles of positivism. Even the principle of relativity, which is one of the pillars of neo-criticism, was taken from Comte – Renouvier was very well aware of it. Renouvier was no more a neo-Comtean than he was a neo-Kantian. But he was nearly as much a neo-positivist as he was a neocriticist.
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hal-03322707 , version 1 (20-08-2021)


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Samuel-Gaston Amet. Marks of positivism in Renouvier's neocriticism. Workshop "French philosophy of science", David STUMP, University of San Francisco, Jun 2019, San Francisco, CA, United States. ⟨hal-03322707⟩
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