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  • Ronald F.Howell—The Philosopher Alain and French Classical Radicalism
    Western Political Quarterly, vol. 18 n° 3, Septembre 1965
Ces 20 pages sur le philosophe ALAIN et parues en 1965 constituent certainement l’étude la plus longue jamais écrite en anglais (sur le philosophe. Merci à Michel Petheram qui a déniché cette référence rare.

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Astonishing it therefore is that nowhere in the English literature that concerns France is there avoilable a full exposition of the political thought of the one man who since the eighteenth century has most vividly exhibited the French political spirit or, more specifically, the spirit of French classical radicalism dring the Third Republic. That man is the philosopher Alain, pseudonym for Emile-Auguste Chartier, who lived from 1868 to 1951.2 Now, it is true that Alain is frequently cited and quoted in British and American books on political science, particularly those on comparative government. Usually, however, only his « radicalism » is mentioned, and the content of even that « radicalism » is not adequately or clearly disclosed. In Great Britain and the United States, Alain is simply not known. This neglect, if not countered, will continue to leave a hiatus in the knowledge of every Britisher and American who aspires to understand the French situation today. The modest purpose of the present article is to offer an expository analysis of Alain’s political thought in the content of his over-all philosophy and its affinity with French classical radicalism. Except incidentally, detailed criticisim, favorable or censorious, falls outside the purview of the study. What Alain thought is the primary interest here ; the reader may determine for himself the cogency, his persuasiveness, the contemporaneity, and the validity of his arguments.