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4~~ LETTERS IN CANADA 1979 de taille: iI suffit de se refugier dans un finalisme facile, en postulant 'un element autre que Ie desir, que nous appellerons I'esprit' et qui 'pousse en avant' (p 153). Iei encore, l'arbitraire est roi. Pourtant I'auteur s'en defend en cherchant 11 montrer que sa triade decoule de la structure meme de I'imagination. Mais pour tout lecteur que son titre aurait alleche, ce qu'i1 nous apprend sur !'imagination est decevant: elle est intentionnalite; elle est 'depassement de toutes les formes et effort de saturation du champ imaginaire par Ie deploiement des formes' (p 97). Ces deux mouvements, additionnes du 'scheme du travail' qui cherche 11 transcender Ie temps (p 105), s'a1ignent de bon gre avec Ie projet de I'auteur. Mais aucune demonstration n/est avancee pour nous convaincre qu/un autre schema ne serait pas tout aussi vraisemblable . Par ailleurs, que nos attitudes aient leurs racines dans I'imagination n'explique aucunement les conflits en apparence irreductibles qui s'elevent entre elles. L'auteur s'etait pourtant fixe comme premiere tache 'de rendre compte de la pluralite des positions' (p 6). La veritable explication reside sans doute dans Ie fait que les attitudes fondamentales sont 'exterieures' ou 'prealables' aux opinions scientifiques ou religieuses qU'elles determinent (p 124). Mais s'i1 en est ainsi, selon quels criteres pouvons nous juger quand iI s'agit d' 'erreurs et de deviations' (p 136)? Par definition, les criteres intl~rieurs ala science au ala theologie ne sont pas admissibles. C'est Ie bon sens inne de l'auteur, sans doute, qui lui fait dire que c'est I'exces de I'une ou I'autre de ces attitudes qui constitue I'erreur et la deviation. IT fautun peu de tout pour faire un monde. Encore une victoire pour I'aurea mediaeritas. (RONALD DE SOUSA) Marc Renault. Le Singulier: essai de monadoiogie Bellarmin. 132 This study is no. 22 in 'Recherches: a series directed by the Jesuit faculties of Montreal, and its author is a professor of philosophy at the Universite du Quebec 11 Trois-Rivieres. Making reference to philosophers as diverse as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant, and drawing especially upon the work of Maurice Blondel, Renault argues for the phenomenological primacy of action over thought, of practical reason over theoretical reason, of praxis over theory. On his analysis the singular human subject, the 'monad,' is not conscious of himself save as already acting, already practically engaged with particular objects and, at a more basic level, already practically oriented towards an ultimate objective. But praxis is inevitably ontological in its implication. Consequently the subject is not conscious of himself save as already positing HUMANITIES 489 the particular objects- and, more fundamentally, the ultimate objectiveas concrete, transcendent, noum~nal, real. Now reflection on one's activity can bring conceptual explicitness to the particular objects and, more generally, to the objective totality. It cannot, however, manifest them as more than mere objects of thought, more than merely abstract, immanent, phenomenal, ideal; and thus the subject's thought can never adequately capture that which his action ceaselessly pursues and at least partially achieves. It remains, none the less, that thought is part of the subject's task; for by clarifying abstractly the concrete and determinative notion of objective totality implicit in prior action he enhances his ability to modify that notion in his subsequent action, and thus he augments his effective freedom. Perhaps the weakest points in Renault's account are his claims that thought is exclusively abstract and that the fullness of effective freedom is not initially but only subsequently a property of action, claims which ultimately both rest, I suggest, on an uncritical acceptance of the notion that self-awareness never arises without at least some return of one's activity upon itself, some degree of reflection. However, Renault's work has the great merit of dearly manifesting that one's actual cognitionalvolitional performance necessarily precedes any possible theoretical study of such performance and thus that in the proper order of philosophical inquiry phenomenology precedes critique. Moreover, on its technical level the book is well organized, rich in images, and clean...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 488-489
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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