Short stay


Philosophy - Argentina

Research topics


Meslier, d’Holbach and the conspiracy of bon sens

Jean Meslier (1664-1729), priest of Etrépigny, left at his death a manuscript in which he develops a materialistic and atheistic philosophy. In general, my research concerns the meaning and reception of his thought. In particular, I propose to offer an interpretation of Meslier’s Mémoire des pensées et des sentiments (c.1729) from a specific point of view: the antagonism – at first sight radical – between the concepts of bon sens / droite raison and foi / croyance aveugle. This antagonism seems to be of special importance not only for the argumentative structure of the priest’s work but also in the delimitation of his potential readers: men of good sense.
In this research, therefore, I seek to expand current knowledge about the possible reception of Meslier’s text and ideas in the second half of the Eighteenth century. In particular, in the framework of other two writings: the booklet entitled Le Bon sens (1772) attributed to Baron d’Holbach, and a clandestine philosophical manuscript known as Quelques Réflexions du bon sens (c.1792).
In addition, by focusing me on the analysis of Meslier’s arguments, I seek to pursue research carried out over the last five decades, specifically since 1964, and to contribute in this way to a growing trend. The path of studies that aim to enrich an excessive monolithic vision of the Enlightenment, derived from conceptions such as that of Cassirer (Die Philosophie der Aufklärung, 1932). In that sense, my intention is to make a new contribution to investigations on Radical Enlightenment and clandestine philosophical manuscripts.

Activities / Resume


Manuel Tizziani (Santa Fe, Argentina, 1984) obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires (2014). He developed a thesis on the controversies about tolerance in early modernity France, paying special attention to the arguments of Michel de Montaigne, Sébastien Castellion, and Jean Bodin. After that, he conducted postdoctoral research (2015-2017) in which he sought to determine how the skepticism of Montaigne’s Essais gave rise to Jean Meslier’s materialism. Currently, he is assistant researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET, Argentina), and he develops a project on the configuration of French materialism in the texts of Meslier and Baron d'Holbach. He is also a founding member of the Argentine Association of Eighteenth-Century Studies (AAES18), and Lecturer in Modern Philosophy and Latin American and Argentine Thought (Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, National University of the Littoral).



  • Manuel TIZZIANI, Ante el desafío de vivir con otros. Controversias en la prehistoria de la tolerancia moderna: Castellion, Bodin, Montaigne, Santa Fe, Ediciones UNL (Ciencia y Tecnología), 2018, 234 pp. ISBN 978-987-749-104-3.
  • Jean MESLIER, Anti-Fénelon. Notas sobre la Demostración de la existencia de Dios de Fénelon y las Reflexiones sobre el ateísmo del padre Tournemine, texto establecido por Jean Deprun, traducción, introducción y notas de Manuel Tizziani, Buenos Aires, El cuenco de plata (el libertino erudito), 2018, 192 pp. In press.

Journals / Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Manuel TIZZIANI, “«Autant qu’il y aura d’ancre & de papier au monde». Meslier lecteur de Montaigne”, La Lettre clandestine : revue d'information sur la littérature clandestine de l'âge classique, Classiques Garnier, Paris, n. 24, 2016, pp. 297-316. ISSN 1242-3912. DOI:
  • Manuel TIZZIANI, “«Cerrar los Ojos a las Luces de la Razón». La representación del pirronismo en la Mémoire de Meslier”, Sképsis: Revista de Filosofia, Associação Nacional de Pós-graduação em Filosofia (ANPOF), Universidade Federal de São Paulo, vol. IX, n. 17, 2018 pp. 26-41. ISSN 1981-4194 (online). URL:
  • Manuel TIZZIANI, “Nada que temer de ese pensamiento. Montaigne, pirronismo y Reforma”, Ideas y Valores, Bogotá, Colombia, vol. LXIII, n. 156, diciembre 2014, pp. 207-221. ISSN 0120-0062 (impresa) / ISSN 2011-3668 (en línea). DOI:
  • Manuel TIZZIANI, “En el camino de la contingencia. Montaigne y el fundamento místico de la ley”, Tópicos. Revista de Filosofía de Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Argentina, n. 27, julio 2014, pp. 62-84. ISSN 1666-485X. URL:

Chapters in Books

  • Manuel TIZZIANI, “Doubt, disbelief, and irreligion. From Montaigne’s skepticism to Meslier’s atheism”, en RAGA ROSALENY, Vicente; JUNQUEIRA SMITH, Plinio (Comp.), Sceptical Doubt and Disbelief in Modern European Thought: A New Pan-American Dialogue. New York, Springer, 2019. In press.
  • Manuel TIZZIANI, “El último Sócrates de Montaigne”, en BAHR, Fernando (ed.). Tradición clásica y filosofía moderna: El juego de las influencias. Santa Fe, Ediciones UNL (Colección: Ciencia y Tecnología), 2012, pp. 13-30. ISBN 978-987-657-619-2.