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From the critique of totalitarianism to the rediscovery of liberalism: an inquiry into the theoretical and political uses of the liberal tradition by the French school of the political

Grant number: 21/03135-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal researcher:Luiz Damon Santos Moutinho
Grantee:Felipe Freller
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Contemporary French political philosophy is profoundly affected by the critiques of totalitarianism formulated in the 1970s. In the intellectual environment marked by this theme, Furet leads, from the end of the decade, a study group at EHESS that brings together, among others, Lefort, Castoriadis, Gauchet, Rosanvallon, and Manent. Designated by Lynch (2010) as the "French school of the political," this intellectual constellation is responsible for reopening studies on political liberalism, pulling classics such as Constant, Guizot, and Tocqueville out of oblivion. The aim of this research project is to question the theoretical and political uses of the liberal tradition by these authors gathered at the Institut Raymond Aron, seeking to add complexity to the usual account of a transition from Marxism to liberalism induced by the critique of totalitarianism. Our hypothesis is that there are at least three uses of the liberal tradition by the "French school of the political." In the first use, the critique of totalitarianism is expanded and directed towards liberalism as an ideology of the modern world. In the second use, the liberal discourse is appropriated as a critical analytical tool for understanding modernity. Finally, the third use looks up to the liberal tradition for contributions to the normative theorization of democracy. The expected contributions of the research are twofold. On the one hand, we hope to fill the gap of a lineage of contemporary political thought still little studied in Brazil, seeking to overcome the purely ideological accounts of the formation of this current of thought. On the other hand, we question the contradictory legacies of the liberal tradition in contemporary political theory, undertaking a metatheoretical reflection on the meanings of the intellectual mobilization of classical authors in contemporary times. (AU)

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