Locke in France, 1688-1734

BookLocke in France, 1688-1734

Locke in France, 1688-1734

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 290


January 1st, 1991

Access Token


Other Formats



As France moved from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century, it found itself in the grip of anglomanie – a fascination with new English ideas in the domains of science and philosophy. Chief among the English thinkers it enthusiastically embraced was John Locke. On his visits to France and in his personal correspondence, Locke interacted with prominent French thinkers, scientists and savants of the day, such as Charles Barbeyrac and Pierre Magnol, and his works engaged in a critical dialogue with those of Descartes. 
However, Locke has been fêted to such an extent that his position in the history of ideas in France is often overlooked. In Locke in France 1688-1734, Ross Hutchison re-examines and re-contextualises the precise nature and extent of Locke’s influence in France by exploring how his ideas were incorporated into contemporary French debates and controversies in the transitional period from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century. 
Hutchison highlights the various channels of dissemination which brought Locke to the attention of the French, including translations of his major works and his personal friendships with French Protestant exiles. Hutchison also presents case studies of interactions in which Lockean ideas played a dominant role in the evolution of French thought, ranging from political theory to the nature of language, theories of education, and the relation between soul and matter. 


Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Locke in context13
Locke and Descartes18
1. Locke in France: the first stages22
Locke in French translation: a brief survey22
The Letters on toleration24
Locke and Bayle26
Locke and some other French-speaking writers29
Locke and the Glorious Revolution31
Locke’s correspondence32
Locke and Coste36
Le Clerc and the Eloge de Locke39
Matter, thought and power: preliminary remarks41
Locke and literary journals42
Literary journals: the contribution of Michel de La Roche44
Literary journals: the Mémoires de Trévoux46
Some provisional assessments51
2. Jean Barbeyrac, John Locke and jurisprudence53
Barbeyrac’s use of Locke: general comments56
Barbeyrac and De Noodt: Locke on tolerance58
Barbeyrac and Pufendorf: duties of man and citizen60
Barbeyrac on gambling: Locke for argument and anecdote61
Barbeyrac’s Traité du jeu , John Locke, and religion66
Barbeyrac on Pufendorf's De jure naturae et gentium: Locke for support and elucidation70
The demonstration of morality70
Virtue, vice, innate ideas, and God76
Barbeyrac’s use of Locke footnotes as textual analysis: Le Droit de la nature et des gens in detail78
Le Droit de la nature et des gens: property85
Locke on property and money: general points87
Le Droit de la nature et des gens: power and authority89
Barbeyrac and Locke: some provisional conclusions93
3. Locke, word-order and natural grammar97
Du Bos: early sensationalism97
Intellectual background99
César Chesnau Du Marsais: the immediate context101
Du Marsais: education and epistemology104
Du Marsais’s successors: general observations105
Pedagogical reform and reaction108
Du Marsais’s exposition: methodological introduction110
Methodology into practice: the ‘grammaire raisonnée’113
The new method: a sample115
Innovative principles and practice116
Du Marsais’s other work117
1. Véritables principes: the order and signification of our ideas117
2. The treatise on tropes122
Du Marsais: practice and theory133
4. Buffier and Locke: a study in influence135
Introduction: Buffier in a salon context135
Educational matters: Buffier and some contemporaries136
Buffier and metaphysics: Descartes and Malebranche140
Buffier and Locke on knowledge: accord and disaccord144
Buffier and Locke in detail: i. ‘Probability’149
Buffier and Locke in detail: ii. ‘Infinity’152
Extended discussion of Locke: the ‘Remarques’155
Ideas: nature and origin159
Discursive metaphysics: the Eléments164
Buffier and Locke: a provisional summary168
5. Machines and men: bodies and souls as philosophical controversy in France under Louis XIV171
Locke’s conjecture172
Locke in an intellectual climate174
What’s wrong with Cartesianism?175
A sceptical and empirical strand in the seventeenth century178
Locke’s contribution: an early example182
The Society of Jesus184
Régis: a representative Cartesian186
The intellectual climate from within: four minor figures191
Basselin: anti-Cartesian polemic191
Empiricism and occasionalism: i. Rassiels Du Vigier194
Empiricism and occasionalism: ii. Vallade197
Maubec: physiology and philosophy199
Protestants: i. A pietistic reaction201
Protestants: ii. Laws for the operation of the mind203
Pierre-Daniel Huet: anti-Cartesian scepticism205
Conclusions: Locke as scholastic, rationalist and empiricist208
6. Voltaire, Locke and the thirteenth letter213
7. Conclusion234
Bibliography (appendix): 17th and 18th-century editions and printings of the works of John Locke253