Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien

▪ French philosopher
born April 19, 1857, Paris, France
died March 13, 1939, Paris

      French philosopher whose study of the psychology of primitive peoples gave anthropology a new approach to understanding irrational factors in social thought and primitive religion and mythology.

      Lévy-Bruhl was professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne from 1899 to 1927. His first major work, La Morale et la science des moeurs (1903; Ethics and Moral Science), reflected the positivism of Auguste Comte. Contending that theoretical moralities cannot prevail, this book laid the groundwork for a pluralistic, relativistic sociology. Much of his subsequent attention was devoted to the mentality of people in so-called primitive societies, which he first examined at length in Les Fonctions mentales dans les sociétés primitives (1910; How Natives Think). From the French sociologist Émile Durkheim he adopted the concept of représentations collectives, or group ideas, which account for differences in reasoning between people in primitive societies and those in modern Western ones. He suggested that primitive thought and perceptions are pervaded by mysticism and that the primitive mentality, though not opposed to the laws of logic, is not governed exclusively by them.

      Lévy-Bruhl continued his examination of primitive mentality and transitional stages in several other works, including La Mentalité primitive (1922; Primitive Mentality), L'Âme primitive (1927; The “Soul” of the Primitive), and Le Surnaturel et la nature dans la mentalité primitive (1931; Primitives and the Supernatural).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien — (1875–1913) French philosopher and social anthropologist, noted for stressing the need for empirical investigation of the categories and methods of thought of different societies, and for interpreting the results in terms of a ‘prelogical’… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Levy-Bruhl, Lucien — (1857 1939)    French philosopher. Born in Paris, he taught at Potiers and Amiens. Subsequently he became professor of higher rhetoric at the Lycee Louis Le Grand and a lecturer at the Ecole Normale Superieure. He then moved to the Sorbonne and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

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  • Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien — (1857 1939) A French philosopher, influential for his theories about ‘primitive’ peoples, who, he argued, held collective representations which were ‘pre logical’ and mystical (see How Natives Think, 1910, and Primitive Mentality, 1922).… …   Dictionary of sociology

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  • Lévy-Bruhl — Lucien Lévy Bruhl (* 10. April 1857 in Paris, † 13. März 1939 in Paris) war ein französischer Philosoph und Ethnologe. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Werdegang 1.1 Politisches Interesse 2 Wirken …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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