“Family” | philosophy magazine

Five philosophers sit around the table.


Aristotle (384-322 BC)

For the Greek thinker, biological descent creates the family and the feelings that unite it. “Parents cherish their children as their own, and children their parents as something from which they come. † The members of the same family then form a single substance, “although in different bodies”.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

“The oldest of all societies and the only natural one is that of the family. † It is the fruit of necessity, because before a certain age, children need their parents to sustain themselves. However, the family disappears as they grow up, because “As soon as this need ends, the natural bond dissolves.”

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

“In the family the man is the bourgeois; the woman plays the role of the proletariat. † Engels thus describes the mechanisms of oppression that exist in this intimate sphere, which precedes any class domination. Far from being for him a union of equals, marriage “appears as submission of one sex by another”.

Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009)

“If the universality of the family is not a law of nature, how can we explain that it is found almost everywhere? † The anthropologist responds with the notion of: “structure” : in every society, individuals are united by natural and social bonds, which make the family “the dramatic meeting between nature and culture”.

Susan Moller Okin (1946-2004)

The family is not a private sphere cut off from society, but “the linchpin of all injustice”.It is not possible to create an egalitarian society if the smallest structure is not. “If families are to help build righteous individuals, they must be righteous families. †

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Lévi-Strauss, anti-humanist or humanist of a new kind?

Jean Marie Durand

With the Lévi-Strauss Dictionary (Bouquins, la collection, 2022), Jean-Claude Monod and some thirty researchers show that the great ethnologist revolutionized 20th-century thinking – and not just his field. Against the traditional humanism that put being above everything else, Lévi-Strauss argued for a new integration of man in life.


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Jean-Philippe Pierron: “Every relationship is an adoption”

Octave Larmagnac-Matheron

The gesture of adoption shows us that the family, if it can be the space of a withdrawal within itself through the necessity of blood ties, is also the place par excellence for the reception of the other. And for philosophy professor Jean-Philippe Pierron, author of We Don’t Choose Our Parents (Seuil, 2003), all kinship is in fact a bond of adoption, mutual recognition, an act of welcoming offspring, which cannot be reduced to biology.

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What is a family?

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The holidays are the perfect time for family reunions – at least for those who still have relatives with them. The family comes to strengthen our ties of kinship while at the same time exposing our disagreements. But do we really know what family is? What we at least know is that it is not an easy task! Four thinkers tell more about it: Lévi-Strauss, Freud, Schopenhauer and Donna Haraway.

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Claude Lévi-Strauss / Nicolas Poussin: Between Blood and Earth

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Claude Lévi-Strauss takes his reader through the elegant structures of a painting by Nicolas Poussin. There he sees at work what he calls ‘wild thoughts’, a dialectic of the sensitive that makes it possible to overcome the contradictions that confront human societies.

Bachelor’s degree in philosophy

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Do we have to choose between equality and freedom?

Aida N’Diaye

Analysis of the terms of the topic “Should we” Is it necessary? Desirable? Do we have the obligation? “choosing between” Inclusive or exclusive choice, to give preference, to prioritize. “equality” Mathematical equality, fairness, formal equality in relation to real equality, equal opportunity. “freedom” Autonomy of the will, absence of obstacles, power to do, freedom of rights.


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Claude Levi-Strauss. Black Brazil

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On his way to the Amazon, Claude Lévi-Strauss said goodbye to the philosophy of his masters. From his confrontation with peoples without history, he recalls a radical critique of Western arrogance.

Claude Levi-Strauss.  Black Brazil


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Claude Lévi-Strauss and the handyman figure

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Constantly striving to adapt his gesture to the minute details of objects, the handyman is a civilized person who, according to Claude Lévi-Strauss, rediscovers the pleasures of wild thinking.

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