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Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century French Philosophers 1st Edition

2 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0826418616
ISBN-10: 0826418619
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Can you name a 17th-century French philosopher besides Descartes? The aim of this source is to make sure that the reader can....To that end, approximately 600 thinkers who published at least one work between 1601 and 1700 are included. An impressive 140 scholars from seven countries contributed the entries....This volume is most useful for obscure figures. SUMMING UP: Recommended." - Choice (CHOICE)

"...The editors cast a wide and finely meshed net, one that snares sardines as well as swordfish. They avoid the assumptions inherent in periodization by defining "the seventeenth century" in its most precise, yet arbitrary sense, 1601—1700. To be included, an individual must have published at least one work during those years. The result is two thick volumes of nearly 1400 pages with articles on nearly 600 hundred philosophers; each article includes a biography and a bibliography, which includes suggestions for further reading and, if relevant, manuscript materials and additional contemporary works. By including intellectual careers that began before 1601 or extended beyond 1700, the Dictionary also organically links the sixteenth with the seventeenth century, the seventeenth with the eighteenth.
As an intellectual historian who has engaged with the pleasures (and challenges) of writing on a seventeenth-century polymath, I find the editors' objectives and methods laudable, welcome, and consistent with recent scholarly trends...

The audience for a publication like the Dictionary is inevitably more limited than the other reference works mentioned in this review, though its interdisciplinary character makes it appealing to more than philosophers. Colleagues of mine frequently complain about the decline in seventeenth-century studies. A single reference work cannot revive a field, of course. Nevertheless, one in English that makes the intrinsic interest of its subject so apparent deserves more readers than specialists fortunate enough to live near a major research library." - April G. Shelford, H-France Review Volume 10 (2010)



"Can you name a 17th-century French philosopher besides Descartes? The aim of this source is to make sure that the reader can….To that end, approximately 600 thinkers who published at least one work between 1601 and 1700 are included. An impressive 140 scholars from seven countries contributed the entries….This volume is most useful for obscure figures. SUMMING UP:  Recommended." - Choice (CHOICE)

"…The editors cast a wide and finely meshed net, one that snares sardines as well as swordfish. They avoid the assumptions inherent in periodization by defining “the seventeenth century” in its most precise, yet arbitrary sense, 1601–1700. To be included, an individual must have published at least one work during those years. The result is two thick volumes of nearly 1400 pages with articles on nearly 600 hundred philosophers; each article includes a biography and a bibliography, which includes suggestions for further reading and, if relevant, manuscript materials and additional contemporary works. By including intellectual careers that began before 1601 or extended beyond 1700, the Dictionary also organically links the sixteenth with the seventeenth century, the seventeenth with the eighteenth.
As an intellectual historian who has engaged with the pleasures (and challenges) of writing on a seventeenth-century polymath, I find the editors' objectives and methods laudable, welcome, and consistent with recent scholarly trends…

The audience for a publication like the Dictionary is inevitably more limited than the other reference works mentioned in this review, though its interdisciplinary character makes it appealing to more than philosophers. Colleagues of mine frequently complain about the decline in seventeenth-century studies. A single reference work cannot revive a field, of course. Nevertheless, one in English that makes the intrinsic interest of its subject so apparent deserves more readers than specialists fortunate enough to live near a major research library." - April G. Shelford, H-France Review Volume 10 (2010)

About the Author

Luc Foisneau is a Director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), presently associated to the Centre Raymond Aron (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), in Paris. He has been Visiting research associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, between 2003 and 2006. He has been awarded, in 2001, a Prize by the Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris for his Hobbes et la toute-puissance de Dieu (Paris, 2000) and has co-edited, among other volumes, Leviathan after 350 years (Oxford University Press, 2003). His research develops in the field of the history of political thought in 17th Century and 20th Century with a particular interest in the theories of sovereignty and their critiques.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1314 pages
  • Publisher: Thoemmes; 1 edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826418619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826418616
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 4.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,603,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Most people associate 17th century French philosophy with Descartes. After leafing through this ridiculously large oeuvre, most people will *still* associate 17th century French philosophy with Descartes. The contents of this work (in two volumes in my library) proves that apart from M Cartesius, there simply wasn't much “philosophy” to write home about in the France of the really ancien régime. Most of the “philosophes” mentioned in this work are Jesuit padres or Jansenists. One, Jean de Labardie, seems to be some kind of fallen prophet. I admit, though, that they might be more interesting than the frivolous postmoderns at your favorite Parisian café…

I can't help share the following nugget. It seems that the work “L'Art de vivre heureux formé sur les idées les plus claires de la raisonet du sens commun, et sur de trés belles maximes de M d 'Escartes” (1667), although written by Nicolas Binet, was long attributed to Claude Ameline, for no apparent reason.

Glad to have that sorted out, at least.

Now, considering Descartes…
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