Monstres et philosophie
27 décembre 2005
Why should philosophy be concerned with monsters? If this term referred solely to mythical figures such as griffins, gorgons or chimeras, that is, creatures of our imagination, they would be the object of philosophical inquiries into the faculties of the mind and their productions, and by extension, the demarcation between reason, madness and myth. But if we actually open a work of early modern philosophy – by Michel de Montaigne, Francis Bacon, Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke or Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, to name a few – without a predetermined sense of what we are looking for (such as the usual, mildly anachronistic topics: the theory of ideas, the status of experiments, or perhaps the defense of a « position » on substance, causality and the like), we will be struck by the presence of a different kind of monster: hairy men, « Changelings », « Drills », conjoined twins or even children bearing on their faces the marks of objects their mothers had coveted.