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Title: Lumières de la raison sociologique. Une lecture de Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse
Authors: Marcucci, Nicola
Keywords: EnlightenmentNatureTranscendentalTotalityFacultyHistoryReligion
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Nicola Marcucci, "Lumières de la raison sociologique. Une lecture de Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse", in "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/2", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2018, pp. 265-286
Journal: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 
Part of: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/2
In the Elementary forms of religious life , Durkheim notoriously addresses modern
philosophy from the perspective of his twofold path, opposing rationalism and empiricism.
In this contribution, I intend to show how another alternative is at work in the text, the one
that confronts Spinoza’s naturalism and Kant’s transcendentalism. Spinozism and
Kantianism are here understood as the two main intellectual options in order to think the
autonomy of human reason and its relation to religion and critique in the Enlightenment
tradition. The article suggests that Durkheim’s reflection on the social origins of human
knowledge and his criticism of an aprioristic account of the categories push his reflection
toward a Spinozist standpoint. Nonetheless, his denial of the possibility to treat the
positivity of religious life via the Enlightenment’s opposition between reason and belief
entails – thanks to his theory of totemism - a criticism of Spinoza’s naturalism alike. In
particular, what is at stake in his book is the possibility to give a sociological account of the
notion of totality and, in this way, to radically revise our understanding of the autonomy of
human reason by means of a socio-historical account of religious life. In this perspective,
Durkheim’s argument not only stages a main alternative of modern philosophy, but also
suggests that the task of sociology is to overcome it.
ISSN: 1825-5167
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/2

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