The Idea of Beginning in Jules Lequier's Philosophy analyzes the work of an author mostly unknown in Anglophone countries, but who greatly influenced the trajectory of French philosophy over the last two centuries. Jules Lequier, in The Search for a First Truth, argues that beginning such a search is the goal towards which philosophy must tend. To achieve this, Lequier established a postulate, that of freedom against necessity, and set out a program as an inaugural gesture: “TO MAKE, not to become, but to make, and, in making, TO MAKE ONESELF.” By the fertility of possible beginnings, the making in Lequier is always first and radical. As Ghislain Deslandes reveals in this exploration of Lequier’s work, that something new is possible in philosophy after all, and that it should even be possible to invent it in other fields, applying the principle that "everything is to be relearned, and started again, but in another truth." Deslandes explores parallels between the “classical” antiphilosophers Pascal and Kierkegaard and Lequier, whose importance to French philosophy is today better documented and more widely recognized.
Ghislain Deslandes is professor in the law, economics, and humanities department at ESCP Business School.
Foreword: Process Themes in the Work of Jules Lequier
Donald Wayne Viney
Preface: Historical Landmarks
Chapter I. Searching
Chapter II. Making
Chapter III. Beginning
Imagine a philosopher in a permanent struggle with himself. One who published only one brief writing during his whole life, but who, like Socrates, never ceased to walk the path of dialectic. Dialectic between philosophy and religion, reason and faith, humanity and God, logical argumentation and poetic discourse, remarkable mastery of form and dissatisfaction with the constraints imposed by all form. Jules Lequier was a thinker tormented by enigmas that he wished to elucidate, first and foremost the enigma of human freedom; an enigmatic author himself, which Ghislain Deslandes's book progressively illuminates, until he appears in all his surprising complexity.