Sorcerers and werewolves, "Reveries of demonographers". Imaginative contagion in Malebranche.

Author/s Marie-Frédérique Pellegrin
Publishing Year 2012 Issue 2012/4
Language French Pages 14 P. 691-704 File size 492 KB
DOI 10.3280/SF2012-004003
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Nicolas Malebranche looks at the phenomena of imaginative contagion up to the point of madness, as in the case of the visions of sorcerers and werewolves. Although Malebranche relies on a psycho-physiological description, it becomes obvious that the responsibility for such contagions is not to be attributed to those who were expected to be the cause, that is would-be sorcerers, but to those who picked up on their deeds and gave them some importance. It is therefore the material conditions of these stories and the use made by them of the social and intellectual authorities that should be underlined. In the final analysis, the Malebranchian reflexion on imaginative contagion is a critique of the writers of such stories and of the anxiety they may produce in their readers’ minds. At this point, the general explanatory schema according to which a contagion is due to the action of a strong imagination upon a weaker one is no longer relevant. For as regards the writer, given that he is impressed by the visionary’s tales and has himself a strong imagination, this makes him all the more responsible for what he writes.

Keywords: Malebranche, imaginative contagion, sorcerers, visions, werewolves, demonographers, writers

  • Sommes-nous tous des lycanthropes? Imagination, folie et vision en dieu dans De la recherche de la vérité de Malebranche Delphine Antoine-Mahut, in RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA 4/2016 pp.677
    DOI: 10.3280/SF2016-004008

Marie-Frédérique Pellegrin, Sorciers et loups-garous, "rêveries des démonographes" la contagion imaginative chez Malebranche in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 4/2012, pp 691-704, DOI: 10.3280/SF2012-004003