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Astérion, n°22/2020

Le lien social

Edited by Géraldine Lepan

Astérion. Philosophie, histoire des idées, pensée politique

The social link

This publication intends to clarify different portrayals of Man and society, developed from Antiquity to the Age of Enlightenment. Létitia Mouze explores Plato's political notion of "bond" (desmos) and determines its relationship with citizens’ philia (friendship), a sine qua non condition of community. Yet whenever philia can no longer be taken for granted, then how can the social link be construed and experienced? Olivier Guerrier and Sylvia Giocanti are both interested in Montaigne. They study the question of public and private links without minimizing the human conflict which naturally arises from ambivalent desires. Locke defines language as the common link of society, yet Éric Marquer focuses on the profound unity between logic and civil life and considers the role of practices and uses in constituting the relationship between ideas. Éléonore Le Jallé compares two forms of social links according to Hume, corresponding respectively to the natural virtue of benevolence and to the artificial virtue of justice, in order to analyze Hume’s enhancing of the possible contradictions between these two virtues, an observation which other authors such as Smith or Rawls, have somehow neglected. By focusing on thought experiments of the 18th century, Christophe Martin illustrates that, where desocialization experiments tend to prove the naturality of the social link, for Rousseau it instead serves to bring to light the potentialities of human nature which society’s “artificial” environment has disfigured. Finally, Géraldine Lepan’s article deals with the definition of Man as a “relative being” by Rousseau: how can “bonds” correspond to the development of natural and civil “ties”?