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Conférences

Conférence à venir : « Pour une définition herméneutique de la religion : par-delà l’essentialisme et le constructivisme », 1er colloque des jeunes chercheurs de la Faculté de théologie et de sciences religieuses de Université Laval, 15 novembre 2019.

Cette présentation vise à dégager une troisième manière de définir la religion outre les voies essentialiste et constructiviste qui dominent les réflexions actuelles, en prenant appui sur l’œuvre philosophique de Charles Taylor. La voie essentialiste classique, qui peut prendre des formes tantôt substantives, tantôt fonctionnalistes, vise à dégager les propriétés nécessaires de la religion, soit son genre et sa différence spécifique. Le constructivisme contemporain préfère quant à lui mettre en lumière les configurations de pouvoir qui président aux discours essentialistes sur la religion, alors tenue pour une invention sociopolitique (Smith, 1962; Fitzgerald, 2000; Cavanaugh 2009). Or, l’opposition entre ces deux conceptions renferme un faux dilemme que permet de mettre en évidence le « principe de la meilleure interprétation » (best-account principle) que défendait Taylor dans son magnum opus, Sources of the Self (1989). Ce principe suffit en effet à montrer la viabilité d’une approche définitionnelle à la fois (i) non-essentialiste et (iii) non-constructiviste, que l’on dira « herméneutique ». La religion peut être caractérisée de ce point de vue aussi bien de manière substantive que fonctionnaliste, selon les aspects du phénomène religieux que l’on cherche à éclairer.

« Charles Taylor on Self-Responsibility and Self-Legislation », congrès annuel de l’Association canadienne de philosophie, Vancouver, 3 juin 2019.

Building on a comprehensive knowledge of Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor’s work, this paper aims to present and critically examine the way he situates Kant’s radical notion of autonomy as self-legislation within the larger context of the rise and development of the Western sense (or rather family of senses) of “inwardness,” that is, the modern ethics of “self-responsibility.”

In the first section, I will focus on clarifying the relationship between 1/ what Taylor calls “radical reflexivity” (as distinct from reflexivity tout court), which he sees as having been introduced in the Western tradition of thought by Augustine, and 2/ the “reflexive turn” initiated by Descartes, who gave Augustinian inwardness a new “radical twist:” that of self-responsibility or “self-sufficient reason.”

Secondly, I will synthetically present the contrasts between (i) Cartesian “procedural” self-responsibility, (ii) Montaigne’s “self-exploration,” (iii) Kant’s self-legislation, (iv) the Romantics’ (Herder, Hamman, Humboldt) “self-expression,” and (v) the German idealists’ (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) “absolute self-identity” – which are all conceived by Taylor as variants or figures of modern inwardness. In this portrait, Kant represents a veritable watershed to the extent that he introduced an altogether new mode of radical reflexivity, which will then be shared by the Romantics, the idealists, as well as major figures of contemporary Continental and Analytic philosophy: that of “agent’s knowledge,” following Anscombe’s notion of “non-observational knowledge” (1957).

Thirdly and finally, I will present (vi) what Taylor labels the “metacritical” tradition (Hegel, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty), to which he himself identifies and whose central problem is that of unifying self-legislation and self-expression, in search for a viable conception of “situated freedom.” This task implies discerning clearly what is living and what is dead of the philosophy of Kant, by distinguishing agent’s knowledge from all the other stances of radical reflexivity (i-v) while at the same time remaining within the bounds of the modern “tradition of self-responsible [or self-critical] reason,” or the aspiration to autonomy.

« Charles Taylor on Self-Responsibility and Self-Legislation », colloque Kant-Readings International Conference. Kant and the Ethics of Enlightenment: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance, Université de Kaliningrad (Russie), 24 avril 2019.

Building on a comprehensive knowledge of Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor’s work, this paper aims to present and critically examine the way he situates Kant’s radical notion of autonomy as self-legislation within the larger context of the rise and development of the Western sense (or rather family of senses) of “inwardness,” that is, the modern ethics of “self-responsibility.”

In the first section, I will focus on clarifying the relationship between 1/ what Taylor calls “radical reflexivity” (as distinct from reflexivity tout court), which he sees as having been introduced in the Western tradition of thought by Augustine, and 2/ the “reflexive turn” initiated by Descartes, who gave Augustinian inwardness a new “radical twist:” that of self-responsibility or “self-sufficient reason.”

Secondly, I will synthetically present the contrasts between (i) Cartesian “procedural” self-responsibility, (ii) Montaigne’s “self-exploration,” (iii) Kant’s self-legislation, (iv) the Romantics’ (Herder, Hamman, Humboldt) “self-expression,” and (v) the German idealists’ (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) “absolute self-identity” – which are all conceived by Taylor as variants or figures of modern inwardness. In this portrait, Kant represents a veritable watershed to the extent that he introduced an altogether new mode of radical reflexivity, which will then be shared by the Romantics, the idealists, as well as major figures of contemporary Continental and Analytic philosophy: that of “agent’s knowledge,” following Anscombe’s notion of “non-observational knowledge” (1957).

Thirdly and finally, I will present (vi) what Taylor labels the “metacritical” tradition (Hegel, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty), to which he himself identifies and whose central problem is that of unifying self-legislation and self-expression, in search for a viable conception of “situated freedom.” This task implies discerning clearly what is living and what is dead of the philosophy of Kant, by distinguishing agent’s knowledge from all the other stances of radical reflexivity (i-v) while at the same time remaining within the bounds of the modern “tradition of self-responsible [or self-critical] reason,” or the aspiration to autonomy.

« Public Reason and Transcendental Arguments: The Missing Link in Political Liberalism », colloque Kant and the Contemporary World: Philosophy, Science, Politics, Université de Catane (Italie), 12 octobre 2018.

The central feature of “political liberalism” is undoubtedly its understanding of public reason: the distinction between the considerations relevant for defining the publicly shareable basis of a liberal political order, on the one hand, and the vast domain of our “reasonable disagreements” about the good life and what we are, on the other. But how exactly are we to draw the line between our purely political self-understanding and our more contentious “ethico-metaphysical” views? Relying on the account of transcendental arguments developed by Charles Taylor, I would like to argue that such arguments are centrally relevant to the work of public reason. They enable us to get a better grasp of what the liberal principle of equal respect really entails, that is, of the universal human capacities and interests we need to identify in order to ensure adequate rights and immunities for everyone. The crucial relationship between public reason and transcendental arguments is indeed the missing link in political liberalism.

« Public Reason and Transcendental Arguments: The Missing Link in Political Liberalism », colloque Transcendental Philosophy Between Metaphysics and Politics. In Memory of Marek Jan Siemek, Université de Varsovie (Pologne), 26 mai 2018.

The central feature of “political liberalism” is undoubtedly its understanding of public reason: the distinction between the considerations relevant for defining the publicly shareable basis of a liberal political order, on the one hand, and the vast domain of our “reasonable disagreements” about the good life and what we are, on the other. But how exactly are we to draw the line between our purely political self-understanding and our more contentious “ethico-metaphysical” views? Relying on the account of transcendental arguments developed by Charles Taylor, I would like to argue that such arguments are centrally relevant to the work of public reason. They enable us to get a better grasp of what the liberal principle of equal respect really entails, that is, of the universal human capacities and interests we need to identify in order to ensure adequate rights and immunities for everyone. The crucial relationship between public reason and transcendental arguments is indeed the missing link in political liberalism.

(29/09/2016) « La solution implicite de Charles Taylor au problème de l’‘‘historicisme transcendantal’’ », Congrès annuel de La société canadienne de philosophie continentale, du 29 septembre au 1 octobre 2016, Université de King’s College.

(28/05/2016) Réponse à Christophe Perrin « Sartre et la solitude des hommes », Congrès annuel de l’Association canadienne de philosophie, du 28 mai au 1 juin 2016, Université de Calgary.

(28/05/2016) « Le dilemme de la raison critique et le problème de la ‘‘facticité’’ », Congrès annuel de l’Association canadienne de philosophie, du 28 mai au 1 juin 2016, Université de Calgary.

(09/04/2016) « Charles Taylor et la question du pluralisme : entre argumentation transcendantale et quête d’authenticité », Colloque Fodar 2016 (« Philosophie et pluralisme »), 8 et 9 avril 2016, Université du Québec à Montréal.

(25/03/2016) « Charles Taylor et la thèse des langages plus subtils », Colloque des cycles supérieurs de l’Association des Étudiant de l’Université de Montréal, mars 2016, Université de Montréal.

(04/10/2015) « La religion dans les limites de la raison herméneutique », Colloque de la Société Francophone de Philosophie de la Religion (« Religion et vérité »), du 2 au 4 octobre 2015, Université de Montréal.

(28/03/2015) « Charles Taylor et le statut problématique de l’éthique. Entre raison publique et raison privée », Colloque des cycles supérieurs de l’Association des Étudiant de l’Université de Montréal, du 26 au 28 mars 2015, Université de Montréal

(15/05/2014) « Ressourcement herméneutique. Charles Taylor et l'ordre moral : entre intuition, expression et interprétation », Congrès de la Société de Philosophie du Québec (SPQ), du 12 au 15 mai 2014, Université Concordia.

Conférence présentée à l'occasion du symposium Déclin et résurgences de la contemplation, organisé avec le concours de Marc-Antoine Vallée (docteur en philosophie, Université de Montréal). Ce symposium réunissait également Mme Catherine Collobert (professeure agrégée, Université d'Ottawa) et M. Jean Grondin (professeur titulaire, Université de Montréal).

(07/09/2013) « La critique herméneutique de la « simple raison » chez Charles Taylor », Colloque inaugural de la Société Francophone de Philosophie de la Religion (« Religion et liberté »), du 5 au 7 septembre 2013, Université de Strasbourg.

(08/05/2013) « L’expressivisme herméneutique de Charles Taylor », congrès de l'Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS), du 6 au 10 mai 2013, Université Laval.

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