Manuel Tizziani: Meslier, d’Holbach and the conspiracy of bon sens First approach: Meslier as a reader

On The November 25, 2019

10h00 to 12h00
26, Place Bellecour - 69002 Lyon
Salle de réunion - Allée A - 1er étage

Jean Meslier (1664-1729), priest of Etrépigny, left at his death a manuscript in which he develops an atheistic and materialistic philosophy. In general, my current research concerns the genesis, meaning and reception of Meslier’s thought. In particular, I propose to offer an interpretation of Meslier’s Mémoire des pensées et des sentiments (ca. 1729) from a specific point of view: the radical antagonism between the concepts of bon sens / droite raison and foi / créance aveugle.

This antagonism seems to be of special importance to understand not only the genesis and the argumentative structure of the priest’s work but also in the delimitation of his potential readers or recipients. In this research, therefore, I seek: first, to develop our current knowledge on Meslier’s philosophy, taking into a count a point of view usually overlooked by main critics; second: to expand our current knowledge about the genesis and the possible reception of his text and ideas in the second half of the eighteenth century. In a broader sense, my intention is to make a contribution to investigations on Radical Enlightenment and clandestine philosophical manuscripts. On this occasion, I will offer some initial conclusions from my research, with special attention to the genesis of Meslier’s philosophy; or rather, to his activity as a reader.

Manuel Tizziani is Fellow 2019-2020 at the Collegium de Lyon and researcher at Universidad Nacional del Litoral | CONICET, Argentina.