Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

The publication of this anthology would not have been possible without the inspiration and encouragement of my co-editor of the "New French Thought" series, Thomas Pavel of Princeton University. My thanks also to David Bell and Tony Judt for helpful historical criticism; ...

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Introduction The Legitimacy of the Liberal Age

Mark Lilla

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pp. 3-34

For much of this century a chasm has separated political philosophy in the English-speaking world from that of Continental Europe. As is well known, it did not develop overnight. Its origins can be traced back to the early nineteenth century when distinctly national styles of philosophical reflection first arose in Europe in the wake of the French Revolution. ...

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Part 1: Les Adieux

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pp. 35-37

The revival of political philosophy in France has been accompanied by a critical encounter with postwar thought, and in particular with the syncretic mix of structuralism, Heideggerianism, Nietzscheanism, and Marxism that became dominant in the sixties. ...

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Chapter 1: Lévi-Strauss

Tzvetan Todorov

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pp. 38-53

Ethnology is a modem discipline whose very object may be identified as cultural difference. Within ethnology, the adoption of an approach to the universal-relative opposition is inevitable-but it may not be a simple matter. To illustrate the difficulties inherent in any undertaking in this area, ...

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Chapter 2: Foucault

Luc Ferry, Alain Renaut

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pp. 54-62

In several of our writings we have discussed what we have called the antijuridism of intellectual endeavors like that of Miehel Foucault.1 In a recent essay Gilles Deleuze denounces the "insults" of those who, not having forgiven Foucault for proclaiming the "death of man," now claim "that he offends the rights of man."2 ...

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Chapter 3: Bourdieu

Philippe Raynaud

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pp. 63-70

Pierre Bourdieu's position within French thought might best be defined as a novel attempt to combine three schools of thought: sociology, the Marxist critique of domination and theory of ideologies, and Gaston Bachelard's epistemology. ...

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Part 2: Reconsiderations

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pp. 71-73

The new focus on liberal society within French political philosophy has gone hand in hand with a reconsideration of the history of liberal thought. Today there is less interest in simply recounting that history than in learning from past liberal thinkers, and from their mistakes, when engaging in political philosophy. ...

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Chapter 4: Kant and Fichte

Luc Ferry, Alain Renaut

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pp. 74-81

There are three ways of understanding the so-called end of philosophy, each of which is rooted in a way that philosophy understands itself. The first comes directly from the Hegelian conception of philosophy and, correspondingly, from the history of philosophy. ...

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Chapter 5: Constant

Philippe Raynaud

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pp. 82-90

One of the most characteristic aspects of recent intellectual life in France is its disdain for the political works of the great French romantics. While the rich production of Restoration authors has hardly been ignored, it has generally been treated as historical documentation of the intellectual climate of the time. ...

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Chapter 6: Tocqueville

Marcel Gauchet

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pp. 91-112

In the pages that follow, I will not consider Tocqueville's thought In and for itself but rather for its present application. What is democracy today? What has it become, and what must be said about it henceforth in relation to what Tocqueville taught us? ...

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Part 3: What Is Modernity?

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pp. 113-115

French theories of modemity have always had as their subtext longstanding national quarrels over religion and secular politics. This subtext has come to the surface in recent years as political philosophy once again began to consider the French Revolution, which is almost universally considered the threshold of the secular modem age. ...

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Chapter 7: Primitive Religion and the Origins of the State

Marcel Gauchet

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pp. 116-122

Meaning what men throughout millennia professed to owe to the gods, what societies nearly always believed they owed to something "beyond" for their workings. This term represents both the most elementary form of, and most general reason for, religious belief. ...

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Chapter 8: The Modern State

Pierre Manent

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pp. 123-133

When speaking of the modern state we speak of the modern state, presupposing its distinctiveness. Since the end of the seventeenth century there has been the growing conviction that a group of economic, social, intellectual, and political developments in Europe is changing the setting or regime of human life. ...

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Chapter 9: Ancient, Modern, and Contemporary

Jean-Marc Ferry

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pp. 134-144

Past worlds enter ours, serving as mirrors in which we see ourselves reflected, and through their mediation we arrive at our own identity. For our world, which has become a thoroughly historical world, is the medium in which the clash of different cultures and past epochs is internalized and appears to us as a conflict of values. ...

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Part 4: What Are Human Rights?

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pp. 145-147

Nowhere has the break with postwar modes of French thought been more apparent than in the new interest, both theoretical and political, in human rights. Whereas the "philosophies of suspicion" ignored such "discourse" or tried to delegitimize it as ideological, more recent writers have sought to provide a foundation for rights and liberal law. ...

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Chapter 10: How to Think about Rights

Luc Ferry, Alain Renaut

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pp. 148-154

The recent return to the idea of rights is historically paradoxical. Marxist analysis, continuing in the vein of On the Jewish Question, has traditionally portrayed human rights as those of the self-interested person isolated from the collectivity—in short, as the rights of particular interests in bourgeois society and not as a universal model. ...

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Chapter 11: Rights and Natural Law

Blandine Kriegel

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pp. 155-163

What led French thought to drift away from natural law? Attempting to answer such a question leads one to confront the enigma of natural right, about which both ancient and modern thinkers had their theories. Natural law and natural right are not simple expressions, nor do they mean the same thing. ...

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Chapter 12: Rights and Modern Law

Stéphane Rials

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pp. 164-174

The modern idea of human rights is taken for granted today. but this idea is the outcome of a tremendous shift in the understanding of rights that people once had. This shift raises a number of questions. How is it that the most solemn proclamation of modern human rights, in France in 1789, was so soon followed by terrible abuses of human will. ...

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Part 5: The Liberal Political Order

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pp. 175-177

A recurrent concern in French thought from Rousseau to the present has been that of reconciling modern individualism with social consensus and public order. This question has once again become central in the wake of the progressive liberalization of French political life over the past half century. ...

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Chapter 13: The Contest for Command

Pierre Manent

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pp. 178-185

The significance of the present liberal revival, whatever its extent or duration, goes beyond the political and economic measures it now inspires. Today liberalism provides the terms and sets the tone in which Europeans and Americans express the problems of their societies. In continental Europe, at least, this situation is new. ...

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Chapter 14: On Legitimacy and Political Deliberation

Bernard Manin

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pp. 186-200

Liberal theories of justice try to answer the question: How can we establish a political and social order based on the will of individuals? From its inception, modem democratic thought has been confronted by the same problem because, like liberalism, it is based on the principles of individualism. This is so regardless of the differences between the liberal and the democratic points of view. ...

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Chapter 15: Modernization and Consensus

Jean-Marc Ferry

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pp. 201-208

To make a broadened concept of modernization possible today, we must return to one of the great philosophers of modernity, Max Weber. The central theme of Weber's theory of society is modernization as rationalization. This rationalization, according to Weber, takes place through systems of socially organized activities: essentially, the modern economy and modern bureaucracy. ...

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Part 6: The New Individualism

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pp. 209-211

The almost total disappearance of Marxism from recent French thought has not meant the end of critical sociological analysis of liberalism. Its intellectual reference point, however, is now more likely to be Tocqueville's Democracy in America than Marx's 1844 Manuscripts. ...

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Chapter 16: May '68, or the Rise of Transpolitical Individualism

Gilles Lipovetsky

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pp. 212-219

This article does not offer a conventional analysis of May '68. The May revolution has usually been seen as a multidimensional crisis that shook the disparate worlds of students and workers and profoundly altered the structures of French politics and trade unionism. Instead, I want to examine the "spirit of May": ...

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Chapter 17: The End of Alienation?

Anne Godignon, Jean-Louis Thirie

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pp. 220-225

Why discuss a notion whose. time. so dearly seems to have passed! After all, the concept of ''alienation" no longer enjoys much favor among intellectuals, and philosophy has already pronounced it dead. As we all know, the demise of this idea owes a great deal to the decline of Marxism and the triumph of liberal principles: ...

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Chapter 18: The Rebirth of Voluntary Servitude

Anne Godignon, Jean-Louis Thiriet

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pp. 226-232

The modern era has accorded tremendous value to work. As the vehicle for self-fulfillment and personal growth, work has quickly become the focus of individual freedom, as its impure origins in physical subjugation and subsistence needs have been forgotten. ...

Notes on the Authors

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pp. 233-234

Select Bibliography

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pp. 235-239