Sylvain Maréchal

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Sylvain Maréchal

Sylvain Maréchal (15 August 1750 – 18 January 1803) was a French essayist, poet, philosopher and political theorist, whose views presaged utopian socialism and communism. His views on a future golden age are occasionally described as utopian anarchism . He was editor of the newspaper Révolutions de Paris.

Utopian socialism is a label used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Étienne Cabet and Robert Owen.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that rejects hierarchies deemed unjust and advocates their replacement with self-managed, self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions. These institutions are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism's central disagreement with other ideologies is that it holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.

Contents

Early life

Born in Paris as the son of a wine merchant, he studied jurisprudence and became a lawyer in the capital. At the age of 20, he published Bergeries, a collection of idylls, successful enough to ensure his employment at the Collège Mazirin as an aide-librarian.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

Jurisprudence theoretical study of law, by philosophers and social scientists

Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.

Lawyer legal professional who helps clients and represents them in a court of law

A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, canonist, canon lawyer, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, solicitor, legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.

Maréchal was an admirer of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Claude Adrien Helvétius, and Denis Diderot, and associated with deist and atheist authors.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Genevan philosopher, writer and composer

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought.

Voltaire French writer, historian and philosopher

François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plumeVoltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

Claude Adrien Helvétius French philosopher

Claude Adrien Helvétius was a French philosopher, freemason and littérateur.

Vision

He developed his own views of an agrarian socialism where all goods would be shared. In Fragments d'un poème moral sur Dieu ("Fragments of a Moral Poem on God"), he aimed to replace elements of practiced religion with a cult of Virtue and faith with Reason (see Cult of Reason ).

Agriculture Cultivation of plants and animals to provide useful products

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good refers to either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service. The concept of the common good differs significantly among philosophical doctrines. Early conceptions of the common good were set out by Ancient Greek philosophers, including Aristotle and Plato. One understanding of the common good rooted in Aristotle's philosophy remains in common usage today, referring to what one contemporary scholar calls the "good proper to, and attainable only by, the community, yet individually shared by its members." The concept of common good developed through the work of political theorists, moral philosophers, and public economists, including Thomas Aquinas, Niccolò Machiavelli, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, James Madison, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, John Maynard Keynes, John Rawls, and many other thinkers. In contemporary economic theory, a common good is any good which is rivalrous yet non-excludable, while the common good, by contrast, arises in the subfield of welfare economics and refers to the outcome of a social welfare function. Such a social welfare function, in turn, would be rooted in a moral theory of the good. Social choice theory aims to understand processes by which the common good may or may not be realized in societies through the study of collective decision rules. And public choice theory applies microeconomic methodology to the study of political science in order to explain how private interests affect political activities and outcomes.

His critique of both religion and political absolutism (Livre échappé du déluge - "Book Salvaged from the Flood", a parody of the Bible) and his atheism caused him to lose his position at the College; Maréchal was forced to live off his literary output.

Parody Imitative work created to mock, comment on or trivialise an original work

A parody ; also called a spoof, send-up, take-off, lampoon, play on (something), caricature, or joke, is a work created to imitate, make fun of, or comment on an original work—its subject, author, style, or some other target—by means of satiric or ironic imitation. As the literary theorist Linda Hutcheon puts it, "parody ... is imitation, not always at the expense of the parodied text." Another critic, Simon Dentith, defines parody as "any cultural practice which provides a relatively polemical allusive imitation of another cultural production or practice". Parody may be found in art or culture, including literature, music, animation, gaming, and film.

Bible Collection of religious texts in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

In 1788, he was sentenced to four months in prison for publishing the Almanach des Honnêtes Gens ("Honest Man's Almanac"). The months were given names numbered one through twelve (for example, March is the first month, listed as "mars ou princeps", while February is "février ou duodécembre". The calendar also replaced the usual figures of a calendars of saints with famous characters (such as Blaise Pascal). Later editions of the Almanach used the French Republican Calendar. [1] [2] [3] From this moment, on until his death, he published anonymously - to prevent further prosecutions.

Calendar of saints Christian liturgical calendar celebrating saints

The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in this context does not mean "a large meal, typically a celebratory one", but instead "an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint".

Blaise Pascal French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and Christian philosopher

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalising the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defence of the scientific method.

Anonymity, adjective "anonymous", is derived from the Greek word ἀνωνυμία, anonymia, meaning "without a name" or "namelessness". In colloquial use, "anonymous" is used to describe situations where the acting person's name is unknown. Some writers have argued that namelessness, though technically correct, does not capture what is more centrally at stake in contexts of anonymity. The important idea here is that a person be non-identifiable, unreachable, or untrackable. Anonymity is seen as a technique, or a way of realizing, a certain other values, such as privacy, or liberty.

Atheist ideology

During Maréchal's lifetime, atheism was consistently frowned upon by the highly religious people of France. Living in a traditionalist Christian country, he would often write about his thoughts on the church, often critical of the doctrines and beliefs held by the Christians of his time.

In his 1799 essay, Preliminary discourse, or Answer to the question: What is an atheist?, Sylvain Maréchal proclaimed that he had no more need of a god than god needed him. [4] He outright rejected the idea of masters ruling his life, and that included the will of any god. For him, to believe in God is to submit to hierarchy.

Revolution

An enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution, Maréchal also advocated the defense of the poor. He did not become involved in the conflict opposing Girondists and Jacobins, and became instead worried about the outcome of revolutionary events, especially after the Thermidorian Reaction and the establishment of the French Directory. The encounter between him and François-Noël Babeuf (Gracchus Babeuf) and involvement in the latter's conspiracy was to find in Maréchal an early influence on utopian socialism, as evidenced by the manifesto he wrote in support of Babeuf's goals - Manifeste des Egaux (first issued in 1796).

His later works include an 1801 Projet de loi portant défense d'apprendre à lire aux femmes ("Bill Preventing the Teaching of Reading Skills to Women"), which relates to subject matter of women's studies and egalitarianism, as well as a Dictionnaire des Athées anciens et modernes ("Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Atheists"). He died at Montrouge in 1803.

Works

Works in English translation

See also

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References

  1. Google books: Archives
  2. Literary works
  3. Almanach des honnêtes gens, pour l'année M.DCCCI.
  4. Preliminary discourse, or Answer to the question: What is an atheist?
  5. The Woman Priest: A Translation of Sylvain Marechal's Novella, La femme abbe.