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Judgement and Sense in Modern French Philosophy
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This book proposes a radical new reading of the development of twentieth-century French philosophy. Henry Somers-Hall argues that the central unifying aspect of works by philosophers including Sartre, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze and Derrida is their attempt to provide an account of cognition that does not reduce thinking to judgement. Somers-Hall shows that each of these philosophers is in dialogue with the others in a shared project (however differently executed) to overcome their inheritances from the Kantian and post-Kantian traditions. His analysis points up the continuing relevance of German idealism, and Kant in particular, to modern French philosophy, with novel readings of many aspects of the philosophies under consideration that show their deep debts to Kantian thought. The result is an important account of the emergence, and essential coherence, of the modern French philosophical tradition.


‘Somers-Hall is proposing nothing less than a perspicacious reading not only of French philosophy in the twentieth century (Bergson, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze), but also of the fate of post-Kantian philosophy in general, and the legacy of German Idealism in particular. It is an extraordinarily ambitious book, and Somers-Hall’s erudition and familiarity with these traditions is made manifest on every page.’

Daniel Smith - Purdue University

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