ABSTRACT

We are able to come to understand the philosophy of the concept only in its opposition to a philosophy of consciousness or a philosophy of the subject. In a way, we must even say that the philosophy of the concept is de ned by this very opposition. And, as Saussure’s linguistics shows, where language is made of “di erences without positive terms,” neither of the terms seem to make sense without the other. Moreover, both the philosophy of the concept and the philosophy of the subject maintain a certain amount of indeterminacy. In particular, the opposite of the philosophy of the concept can be called either a philosophy of consciousness or a philosophy of the subject. e opposition rst appears in the last lines of Jean Cavaillès’s posthumous work, “On Logic and the eory of Science,” which was not published until 1947.1 But then, one has to wait for Georges Canguilhem’s reference to Cavaillès, in the 1960s, for this opposition to really impose its mark on French philosophy.2 From then on, this opposition

1. Jean Cavaillès (May 15, 1903-February 17, 1944; born in Saint-Maixent (Deux-Sèvres, PoitouCharentes), France; died in Arras) was educated at the École Normale Supérieure (192326) and the Sorbonne (1926-27). His in uences included Brunschvicg and Husserl, and he held appointments at the École Normale Supérieure (1931-35), lycée in Amiens (1937), the University of Strasbourg (1938-41), and the Sorbonne (1941).