II. From Positivism to Bergson
The 19th-Century French Thought The French thought spanning between the Enlightenment and the present day is little known in Poland. The historians of philosophy tend to focus on the problems of Ger- man philosophy, and there can be little wonder why this is so. None of the French au- thors of the 19th century can compete with Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer or Nietzsche, possibly excepting Comte and Maine de Biran. This may explain why some believe that nothing of interest occurred in France in the 19th century. This is not true, as the works of less prominent authors have been found to be quite interesting. There was no shortage of talent and indeed, French philosophy of the 19th century did in many ways affect the philosophical thought formation of our country. It is difficult to understand modern French philosophers without a working knowledge of the works written by their predecessors. The term “French philosophy of the 19th century” may arouse two main doubts. We all realize that bringing the history of philosophy into agreement with the calendar and rigid classification is artificial. The debate as to whether philosophy can have so- me national traits or if its essence can raise it above national limitations has been ac- tive until the present day. Thus, can we make any sense in a discussion of French phi- losophy, or should we perhaps speak of the philosophy in France? The first doubt does not merely concern the history of the French philosophy, but the European...
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