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Philosophy Modern

An Examination of the Philosophy of Bacon

Wherein Different Questions of Rational Philosophy Are Treated

by (author) Joseph de Maistre & Richard A. Lebrun

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 1998
Modern, Rationalism
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 1998
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Although often neglected, An Examination of the Philosophy of Bacon is crucial to understand the epistemological basis for Maistre's critique of modern science as well as his criticisms of other aspects of Enlightenment thought. Given Maistre's stature in the history of conservative thought, his critique of Bacon remains significant for what it tells us about Maistre's own thought, what it reveals about attitudes toward science in his time, and what it contributes to issues that are still debated today. The work also showcases Maistre's polemical skills and his powerful prose style. Richard Lebrun's annotated translation includes Maistre's complete text, an extensive introduction that places the work in context and provides a critical exposition and assessment of Maistre's criticisms of Bacon, biographical notes on persons cited or mentioned by Maistre, and a bibliography. Differences between Maistre's manuscript and the printed text, first published fifteen years after the author's death, are noted, and Maistre's numerous citations have been identified, verified, and translated, making this the only authoritative and fully accurate edition of the work in either French or English.

About the authors

Richard A. Lebrun is professor of history, St Paul's College, University of Manitoba.

Joseph de Maistre's profile page

Richard A. Lebrun is professor emeritus of the University of Manitoba.

Richard A. Lebrun's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This new translation will help to moderate the emphasis normally placed upon Maistre's authoritarianism. He anticipated something of the twentieth-century understanding of the active role played by the human mind in the empirical/inductive process utilized in modern science. An Examination of the Philosophy of Bacon reveals Maistre to be a complex thinker, whose focus on the centrality of power, in the tradition of Machiavelli and Hobbes, is balanced against a genuine spiritualism informed by Christian neo-Platonism and the European tradition of humane learning." David Klinck, Department of History, University of Windsor

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