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When influential philosophers prior to the Enlightenment such as Leibniz and Malebranche speculate about the interior life of ‘Man’ they presuppose the elect, saved man. This continues to be the case with Pierre Nicole and Jacques-Joseph Duguet, whose writings coincide with Jansenism’s turn towards a movement of political opposition to absolutism that ended up in Jacobinism. The shadows cast by predestination can still be detected even in Locke and Montesquieu, regarded as the founding figures of the Enlightenment. The theory of election would retain a subliminal presence in the history of the human sciences of the eighteenth century. So too would their increasing preoccupation with causality in psychological and social identity; out of the causes for election and reprobation came the imputation of causes for developmental normality and abnormality (‘idiocy’, ‘imbecility’ etc.) in the history of medicine.
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