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Emilie Du Châtelets analys av lycka: Upplösning av polemiken mellan illusion och förnuft
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Emma Nordin: Emilie Du Châtelets analys av lycka: Upplösning av polemiken mellan illusion och förnuft. Uppsala universitet: inst. för idé- och lärdomshistoria, C-uppsats, höstterminen, 2012.


The 18th century is a time period known for its battle with superstition, illusion and falseness. With the Torch of Reason the philosophers of the time were set on vanquishing everything untrue and lead mankind into what they themselves called the Enlightenment. Happiness had moved from Heaven to Earth in science, truth and pleasure. But is it that simple? This essay will analyze and discuss the French philosopher Emilie Du Châtelet’s concept “illusion”, something she did not encourage people to vanquish, but to nourish and cherish. Her ideas of illusion did not only contradict the ideas of many of her contemporaries and predecessors, but the associations the word has today as well. Unlike many others she did not consider illusion as falseness that eliminated reason, on the contrary, only with the two combined could one be truly happy. Du Châtelet argued for the apparent oxymoron: conscious illusion. She showed how this worked in happy occasions such as love, hopes of glory and something as simple as a visit to the theatre. She did not construct these definitions and reasoning in a vacuum, but in constant debate with predecessors such as Spinoza and Hobbes and her contemporaries such as La Mettrie and Rousseau. This essay will show that the relationship between reason and illusion during the Enlightenment was more complicated than one might think and that Du Châtelet argues for a fully functioning and necessary combination of illusion, happiness and reason. Illusion was not necessarily something the philosophers of the Enlightenment saw as something oppose to, or even threatening to, their flickering Torch.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 24 p.
Keyword [en]
Emilie Du Châtelet (1706-1749), illusion, happiness, Enlightenment, love, reason
National Category
History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-192318OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-192318DiVA: diva2:589385
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-02-21 Created: 2013-01-17 Last updated: 2013-02-21Bibliographically approved

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