Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Jean-Felix Nourrisson

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Jean-Felix Nourrisson

by Charles Albert Dubray


Philosopher, b. at Thiers, Department of Puy-de-Dôme, 18 July, 1825; d. at Paris, 13 June, 1899. He received his education in the college of his native city and in the Collège Stanislas (Paris), where, at the age of nineteen, immediately after completing his studies, he was appointed professor. In accordance with. the wishes of his father, he applied himself first to the study of law, but his own inclinations led him in another direction, and he finally decided to devote himself to philosophy. He was appointed to the chair of philosophy in the Collège Stanislas (1849), received the Doctorate (1852), and was made professor of philosophy successively in the Lycée de Rennes (1854), the University of Clermont-Ferrand (1855), the Lycée Napoleon, Paris (1858) and the Collège de France (1874). Nourrisson obtained three prizes in competitions on the philosophy of Leibniz (1860), and on the role of psychology in the philosophy of St. Augustine (1864), subjects proposed by the Institut de France. In 1870 he became a member of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques in the section of philosophy. Nourrisson was one of the best representatives of French spiritualistic philosophy in the nineteenth century. Not only was he a deep thinker, a penetrating philosopher and historian, but a firm believer, convinced that "conscience remains hesitating, and that convictions come to nothing, unless the teachings of religion complete the data of reason" (letter to de Barante, 5 Dec., 1856.

Besides a number of reports, memoirs, and articles in the "Journal des Débats", "Revue des Deux Mondes", "Revue Contemporaine", "Correspondant", etc, Nourrisson's works are: "Quid Plato de ideis senserit" (Paris, 1852); "Essai sur la philosophie de Bossuet" (Paris, 1852); "Les Pères de l'Eglise latine" (Paris, 1856); "Le cardinal de Bérulle" (Paris, 1856); "Exposition de la théorie platonicienne des idées" (Paris, 1858); "Tableau des progrès de la pensée humaine depuis Thalès jusqu'à Leibniz" (Paris, 1858), the third edition was augmented and brought down to Hegel's time (1867); "Histoire et philosophie" (Paris, 1860); second enlarged edition under the title "Portraits et études" (Paris, 1863); "La philosophie de Leibniz" (Paris, 1880); "Ledixhuitième siècle et la Révolution française" (Paris, 1863), 2nd ed., 1873, under the title "L'ancienne France et la Révolution"; "La nature humaine: essais de psychologie appliquée" (Paris, 1865); "La philosophie de Saint-Augustin" (Paris, 1865); "Spinoza et le naturalisme contemporain" (Paris, 1866); "De la liberté et du hasard, essai sur Alexandre d'Aphrodisias" (Paris, 1870); "Machiavel" (Paris, 1875); "Trois révolutionnaires: Turgot, Necker, Bailly" (Paris, 1885); "Pascal, physicien et philosophe" (Paris, 1885); "Philosophes de la nature: Bacon, Bayle, Toland, Buffon" (Paris, 1887); "Défense de Pascal" (Paris, 1888); "Voltaire et le voltairianisme" (Paris, s. d.); "Rousseau et le rousseauisme" (Paris, 1904), a posthumous work edited by Paul Nourrisson.

THEDENAT, Une Carriere Universitaire, Jean-Fe1ix Nourrisson (Paris, 1901).

C.A. DUBRAY