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The French Idea of HistoryJoseph de Maistre and His Heirs, 1794-1854$
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Carolina Armenteros

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449437

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449437.001.0001

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History and Paradox

(p.315) Conclusion
The French Idea of History

Carolina Armenteros

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter describes the paradoxes at the core of Maistrian thought, with the aim of gathering together the various strands of his historical philosophy and tracing its prosperity and wane in the nineteenth century. It particularly looks at the most explicit expression of the paradox at the heart of Maistrian history: the idea that time is divided into ages that alternate ceaselessly, yet with ever lessening intensity, until the universe reintegrates into God. Maistre defines two kinds of ages—those determined by knowledge and those governed by individual spiritual states. The ages defined by knowledge are divided into ages of discovery and ages of dissertation, or of sterile, critical repetition. Both spring out of the soul, with the former emanating from united selves, and the latter from divided ones. This model of the succession of ages constitutes the most intimate link between Maistre's historical thought and the philosophy of Saint-Simon.

Keywords:   historical thought, Maistrian thought, Maistrian history, time, ages of discovery, ages of dissertation, Henri de Saint-Simon

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