François Dosse

Philosophical Friendships Publication date : September 1, 2021

François Dosse is professor of contemporary history at the Université Paris-Est-Créteil-Val de Marne, and teaches at Sciences Po Paris. Specializing in the history of ideas of the Twentieth Century, he is the author of many books on the subject, notably a vast panorama of French intellectual life (La Saga des intellectuels français [The Saga of French Intellectuals], 2-volumes, Gallimard, 2018) and of essential biographies (Michel de Certeau, Paul Ricoeur, Pierre Nora, Cornelius Castoriadis…).
Between intellectual affinities, warm friendships, and political differences, what could have united and (dis)united these philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century, who influenced entire generations?

“Because it was he, because it was I,” wrote Montaigne regarding his friendship with La Boétie, though he also wrote: “O my friends, there is no friend!”

In seven chapters, each devoted to a pair of contemporary French philosophers (Aron-Sartre, Merleau-Ponty-Sartre, Foucault-Deleuze, Lefort-Castoriadis, Ricoeur-Derrida, Deleuze-Guattari, and Levinas-Derrida), François Dosse invites us into the intimacy of their relationships, relationships marked by an affective closeness that did not exclude intense jealousies, bitter resentments, and strong hatreds. The reader discovers both the intensity of their sparring and the spectacular nature of their reconciliations, even if those sometimes occurred posthumously.

Through these intersecting lives, an entire intense and vivid era is restored, with its controversies, its ruptures, its social explosions…