France: critical eighteenth century Enlightenment philosophers


From French daily L’Humanité:

Michel Onfray, or Philosophy in Reverse Gear

Translated Monday 21 August 2006, by Henry Crapo

France Culture, French national radio, retransmits each day talks by Michel Onfray at the Popular University of Caen (Normandie), which explore the history [of] less known parts of the discipline of Philosophy

Michel Onfray, philosopher and writer, delights us with a radiophonic pearl, for the fourth consecutive year, Monday through Friday from 19h to 20h on France Culture.

The broadcast regroups recordings of a series of talks given by Onfray at the Popular University of Caen, of which he is the founder, on the theme “The best of the pack (the ultras) of the French Enlightenment”

This assemblage of reflections is an element of a vast project designed to rehabilitate “twenty-five centuries of forgotten philosophy”, a veritable “counter-history of Philosophy”, which gathers together authors voluntarily placed in the shadows by educational texts, colloquia, and other university work.

“The history of Philosophy is written by the winners of a battle that, speaking loosely, opposed idealists and materialists.

Under Christianity, the former have held intellectual power for the last 20 centuries”, Michel Onfray tells us ….

“The best of the pack of the French Enlightenment (Les ultras des Lumières)” thus pursues a long bi-path of “alternative philosophy” in a logic of “resistance to christianism”, the idealism of which has eclipsed reality now for twenty centuries.

This is the occasion for a serious neophyte to encounter the century of the French Enlightenment from a new angle, with authors little known, like Jean Meslier, “atheistic, materialist, communist priest”, Maupertius, “inventor of French utilitarism”, or Helvétius, “radical reformer”, to each of whom Michel Onfray devotes two broadcasts, on the average.

This evening (17 August) at 19h, the philosopher invites us to “deconstruct christianism” following the work of D’Holbach, a “unstoppable atheist” for whom Religion is simply a “human forgery”.

Onfray on French presidential elections of 2007: here.

Atheism and society in the USA today: here.

Descartes and Negri: here. Negri: here.

Hardt and Negri: here.

Atheism today: Dawkins and Sam Harris.