Issue n° 19

Opening, Roger-Pol Droit (CNRS)

Moral chronicle, Alain Vergnioux (University of Caen)

The school is a place of light. It is also a dark cavern and its message is hard to decipher. The author discusses a passage from Michel Serres which depicts a meeting between Gyges and Saint Bernadette.

Notion : Mondialisation, Marie Cuillerai

`Mondialisation’ is the French translation of the American term `globalisation’. This is a key word in the new enterprise culture and is usually taken to mean international (global) integration, which binds societies and states tightly together in a system of international trade and has no room for other than economic links. The author points out that the translation `mondialisation’ reminds us that there is something else here, namely politics at a global level. A world currency, like that used in trade among Greek city states at the time of Aristotle, influences today’s political institutions in a way which brings democracy and the market together within the framework of a world of nation states.

Report: Citizen of the World

Presentation, Hubert Vincent

Empedocles’ panhumanity, Alain Vergnioux (University of Caen)

Empedocles’s life incorporated every branch of knowledge found in the ancient world. A hysicist, doctor, sage, prophet, politician, he also created a pre-Aristotelian synthesis between the eleatic, heraclitean and pythagorean conceptions of the world. The vision of the unity of humanity that one can see in his poems is based on the notion of the unity of the cosmos – physical, cosmological, biological and divine – under the overarching concepts of harmony and discord.

Imitating the universe. Comments on the Greek origins of cosmopolitanism, Jean-François Pradeau (Marc Bloch University, Strasbourg)

Beyond its Stoic origins, the notion of cosmopolitanism should be related to what was common in the thinking of ancient Greek philosophers and other thinkers. They all made constant reference – in very different ways – to the ideas of natural law and of cosmos. This brief look at the Greek origins of the concept helps us to identify the very beginnings of disputes – which mirror those of today – between two ways of conceiving cosmopolitanism.

The religious democracy of Pierre Leroux : a version of global Essenianism, Laurent Fedi (CNRS)

Pierre Leroux (1797-1871) aimed at a theoretical unification of the notion of man and citizen via a study of the consequences of the French Revolution. Refusing to separate politics and religion, this theorist of `solidarity’ introduced a cosmopolitan conception of `religious democracy’. This article finds in Leroux’s writings a notion, which if not rigorously defined was at least powerfully drawn, of citizenship expanded to humanity as a whole – a modern, political, version of Essenianism.

Political stances and cosmopolitan perspectives in Habermas, Pierre Statius (IUFM of Franche-Comté)

Habermas’s last writings bear on issues to do with world citizenship which originated in Kant but also in the requirements he hands down to our times. They also draw our attention to certain problems in this notion and help us to see the reasoning behind different points of view about it. They also, finally, reveal the key role of the European dimension of these problems.

Between republic and democracy : Derrida’s politics, Hervé Touboul (University of Franche-Comté)

Between democracy and republic, between concern for the particular and concern for the universal, between attachment to one’s native language and induction into other languages, between individuality and culture: in each case the path charted between the two can seem narrow and tricky, and it may seem as if one has to choose or refrain from choosing. J. Derrida’s work – the main themes of which and also its more directly political aspects are discussed in this essay – has constantly and rigorously trodden this uncommitted path, exploring in an ever-stimulating fashion various ways in which positions on either side of it are undermined and reconstructed.

Hannah Arendt, education and global issues, Philippe Foray (University of Saint-Etienne)

This essay focuses in a rigorous and thorough way on several themes in Hannah Arendt’s philosophy – essentially those to do with the world, work, education, human rights and communitarianism. The article shows that the strict demarcations of experience that this philosophy so often embodied – opposing, for instance, the world of culture and its essential `durability’ to consumption or leisure – are less thoroughgoing than they might seem to be at first sight, and that there might be a unifying thread running through them, centred on the idea of the human world.

Delirium and dream in the notion of being a citizen of the world (of language), Martine Meskel-Cresta (IUFM of Versailles)

World citizenship, Janus-like, has two faces. These two aspects are first explored using the resources of psychoanalysis. The distinction between them is captured in the opposition between dream and delirium. Believing in world citizenship – wanting to believe in it – is doubtless something positive; but believing in it too much is not without its dangers. In the second half of the essay, which draws on the work of K.Kraus, being a citizen of the world is conceptualised as fidelity to language and its laws – in opposition both to writers of journalistic prose which enfeebles language and empties it of sense, and also to purists about language who, on the pretext of grasping its essence, lose its spirit.

The literature of Gypsy voices, Marie-Dominique Wicker (IUFM of Versailles)

How far do the Gypsy people (numbering fifty millions across the world) provide one possible model of world citizenship ? They are recognised in the UNO as a `nation without a state’. Few non-gypsies know that the Romany people have developed a written literature on the basis of their oral traditions. or that their writers are now the transmitters of the central values of that tradition.

Studies : Conferences on pedagogy : an ideal type from the Republic, Hervé Terral (IUFM of Toulouse)

Conferences on pedagogy have distant parallels in meetings of scholars in the eighteenth century, in associations for popular education in the nineteenth century, and in religious retreats. They were seen at first as fora for the exchange of points of view between teachers and for deepening their understanding. But they quickly became first a vehicle of control by the inspectorate and later a vehicle of republican and lay `normalisation’ of elementary school teachers during the Third Republic. They never figured in the world of secondary education, but were an efficient mechanism used to develop the culture of the primary school.

Correspondence : Unending education : Jean-Marie Guyau’s philosophy and pedagogy, Jordi Riba (University of Gerona)

J-M. Guyau stands at the crossroads of several eras. His life (1854-1887) was short but covered the Second Empire, the Commune, the German invasion, and the gradual creation of the Third Republic. Heir of Plato and of Kant, he was also influenced by Comte, Spencer and Nietzsche. His views on education brought him international recognition. Backed by moral philosophy, they involve a synthesis of classical ideals, new insights from spencerian sociology, and Tolstoy’s libertarianism. One concern runs through all this. Education must enable young people to cope, in the most favourable conditions, with a complex and difficult new world.