Positivism in Action: The Case of Louis Rougier

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In this paper, we investigate how the life and work of Louis Rougier relate to the broader political dimension of logical empiricist philosophy. We focus on three practical projects of Rougier in the 1930s and 1940s. First, his attempts to integrate French-speaking philosophers into an international network of scientific philosophers by organizing two Unity of Science conferences in Paris. Second, his role in the renewal of liberalism through the organization of the Walter Lippmann Colloquium. Third, Rougier’s attempts at political negotiations between Great Britain and the Vichy regime during the Second World War. These activities of Rougier in the 1930s and 1940s have so far never been discussed as part of a unified project on Rougier’s part. Based on our investigations of these practical projects of Rougier, we argue that Rougier’s relation to logical empiricist philosophers should primarily be understood on the level of action. Rougier’s projects aimed to proliferate the concrete improvement of society and the lives of its citizens by expunging all metaphysical questions and speculations from the sphere of social discourse. Rougier conceived logical empiricist philosophers as allies to achieve such practical effects in society.
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Archival date: 2020-12-22
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