Article ID: CBB444177107

Historiographical Approaches on Experience and Empiricism in the Early Nineteenth-Century: Degérando and Tennemann (2019)


This paper examines the views of Joseph-Márie Degérando and Wilhelm Gottlieb Tennemann about empiricism, and the scope and limits of experience as well as its relation to reason and its role in the attainment of true knowledge. While Degérando adopted the “philosophy of experience” and Tennemann advocated Kant’s critical philosophy, both authors blamed each other for the same mistake: if Degérando considered that, despite all appearances to the contrary, critical philosophy fell into empiricism, Tennemann judged that the philosophy of experience was nothing but pure and simple empiricism. Degérando’s and Tennemann’s discrepancies involved not only a discussion of “nomenclatures” and of the role and limits of experience in knowing, but also an epistemological and ideological commitment to the pacification of the intellectual field in the aftermath of the French Revolution. In this line, Degérando’s alignment with the philosophy of experience attempted to distance himself from the politically dangerous sensualism attributed to the idéologie. But, unlike his country-man Charles Villers, he did not want to replace the sensualism by critical philosophy. His opposition to philosophical novelty (which he associated with political revolution) led him to praise only the “eclectic” spirit of Kant’s philosophy.

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Authors & Contributors
Giglioni, Guido Maria
Gissis, Snait B.
Adkins, Gregory Matthew
Goldstein, Jan E.
Walker, Mark
Bond, Niall
Perspectives on Science
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
HOST: Journal of History of Science and Technology
European Legacy
Eighteenth-Century Studies
Harvard University Press
Cambridge University Press
Indiana University
University of Pittsburgh Press
French Revolution of 1789
Science and society
Science and politics
Philosophy of science
Experience; witness
Theories of knowledge
Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Antoine Pierre de Monet de
Kant, Immanuel
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Peiresc, Nicolas Claude Fabri de
Hobbes, Thomas
Tönnies, Ferdinand
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
17th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain
Levant and Near East
North Africa
Académie Royale des Sciences (France)

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