Who is Jules Lachelier?

Who is Jules Lachelier?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Julius Lachelier was a French philosopher who lived between 1832-1918 and reached a spiritualist philosophy through his solution to the problem of induction.

Jules Esprit Nicolas Lachelier was born in Fontainebleau on 27 May 1832 and died in the same city on 16 January 1918. Lachelier, whose father was a captain, studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and Sens High School from 1851 to 1854. After his education, he worked as a teacher in Toulouse from 1857 to 1858, in Caen until 1861, and in Paris from 1862. Lachelier, who completed his doctorate in literature in 1871, left his job at the Ecole Normale, where he taught philosophy starting from 1864, in 1875 and became Inspector of the Paris Academy. Lachelier, who was appointed inspector general of public education in 1879, remained in this position until his retirement in 1900. He was elected a member of the Academy of Ethics and Political Sciences in 1896.

Lachelier, whose main works include On the Foundations of Induction and Psychology and Metaphysics, entered the subject of induction, like Kant, by investigating the necessary conditions of our experience of the world. Lachelier stated that the experiment only provides us with a limited number of observations about the practical connections between phenomena, but does not tell us why these phenomena are connected, whereas in inductive reasoning we draw a universal conclusion from a limited number of observations, including future unobserved connections. Although it is necessary, he argued that in the philosophical plane, it can only be grounded by an agent and a mechanical causality as well as a final or final causality.

Lachelier is one of the representatives of French Neo-Spiritualism, led by his teacher at the Ecole Normale, Ravaisson. He criticized aspects of skepticism and eclecticism that he found inadequate. According to him, the objectivity of knowledge stems from the master. Induction, on the other hand, is a method that will lead to the knowledge of the laws governing the phenomena. According to Lachelier, who founded his philosophy of nature on this method, there are two principles of natural laws. One is that facts form sequences, other sequences produce strings. In the first principle, the preceding fact is the effective cause of the next. The “whole” they create, on the other hand, is the final cause of facts or series, as Kant states, and this is the basis of induction.

According to Lachelier, the cause of every phenomenon is within the general laws. Thus every object exists when it determines and delimits a unity. Lachelier was influenced by Leibniz on metaphysical freedom. Kant’s views on causality were recognized in France.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook