Moscovici, Claudia. “Beyond the
Particular and the Universal: D’Alembert’s ‘Discours Préliminaire’ to the Encyclopédie.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, Johns Hopkins University Press, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS), 2000, pp. 383–400. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/30053949.
Referring to debates between universalists and relativists, Moscovici claims that Enlightenment philosophy has been misinterpreted as many scholars have omitted the middle ground between the two sides. Through an analysis of the “Preliminary Discourse” written by D’Alembert for the Encyclopédie, Moscovici aims to expose a “double dialectical” theory of knowledge where the journey towards truth is paired with an acknowledgement of human differences and limitations. First discussing the Encyclopédie in context of modern debates, then introducing the debate of empiricism and rationalism, Moscovici dives into the “Preliminary Discourse”, analyzing D’Alembert’s thoughts, especially on the crossovers between universalism and relativism and how they relate to the tree of knowledge and classification system in the Encyclopédie.
Country of Publication: United States
Main Classification: Preliminary Discourse
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