Louis Lavelle

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Louis Lavelle
Louis Lavelle
BornJuly 15, 1883
DiedSeptember 1, 1951 (1951-10) (aged 68)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
French spiritualism
Main interests
Metaphysics, ethics
Notable ideas
Classification of values, participation in the Absolute (participation à l'Absolu)

Louis Lavelle (French: [lavɛl]; July 15, 1883 – September 1, 1951) was a French philosopher. His magnum opus, La Dialectique de l'éternel présent (1922), is a systematic metaphysical work. Lavelle's other principal works include De l'Être (1928), De l'Acte (1937), Du Temps et de l'Eternité (1945), and De l'Âme Humaine (1951).


Louis Lavelle was born in France in 1883 and died there in 1951. He was Professor at the College de France; at the Sorbonne; and lectured at German, Italian, Swiss, Belgian and Dutch universities. In 1947 he was recognized for his many philosophical and religious writings, and named to the Académie des sciences morales et politiques.[3]

Major publications[edit]

Original French

Lavelle's other writings include La dialectique du monde sensible: La perception visuelle de la profondeur (1921), La conscience de soi (1933), La présence totale (1934), L'Erreur de Narcisse (1939), Le Mal et la Souffrance (1940), La Parole et l'Écriture (1947), and Les puissances du Moi (1948).

Selected translations of works by Lavelle
  • Translations of selected chapters of La présence totale (The Total Presence), De l’Acte (Of the Act), Du temps et de l’éternité (Of Time and Eternity) and De l’âme humaine (Of the Human Soul), together with a long introduction to the work of Lavelle, can be found in The Act of Presence by Robert Jones. It is presented in full on the website of the Association Louis Lavelle (http://association-lavelle.chez-alice.fr) under « Traductions ».
Analyses and critiques in English
  • James Collins published the article "Louis Lavelle on Human Participation" in The Philosophical Review vol 56, no. 2 (1947): 156-83.
  • Walter J. Ong works with a sound/sight contrast throughout Ramus, Method, and the Deacay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (1958, 3rd ed. 2004), which he credits largely to Lavelle: "For a discerning and profound treatment of the visual-aural opposition on which the present discussion turns, the reader is referred to the works of Louis Lavelle, especially La parole et l'ecriture (Paris, 1942), and Jean Nogue, Esquisse d'un système des qualités sensibles (Paris, 1943)" (p. 338n.54).
  • Colin Smith devotes a chapter to discussing Lavelle's work in Contemporary French Philosophy: A Study in Norms and Values (1964, pp. 47–74).
  • Marvin Farber includes an essay by Lavelle in the collection Philosophic Thought in France and the United States: Essays Representing Major Trends in Contemporary French and American Philosophy (1968, pp. 121–35).
Analyses and critiques in French
  • Bechara Sargi, La Participation à l'être dans la philosophie de Louis Lavelle, Éditions Beauchesne, Paris, 1957.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Louis Lavelle, "Maine de Biran l'homme et la philosophie." In: Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Budé, Paris, Dec. 1949, pp. 75–85.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Louis Lavelle, Evil and Suffering, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1963. Originally published in 1940 as Le mal et la suffrance.