DOSSIER: Bachelard and the Concept of Problematic

This dossier is the result of discussion following Patrice Maniglier’s contribution to ‘The Concept of Problem’, the second day of the first Workshop in the AHRC-funded research project, ‘Transdisciplinarity and the Humanities: Problems, Methods, Histories, Concepts’, organized by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, at Dorich House, Kingston University London, 25–26 January 2012.

What is a problematic?

Patrice Maniglier

Gaston Bachelard’s 1949 book, Le Rationalisme appliqué (RA; best translated as Reason Applied), is essential to an understanding of his work, and Bachelard is essential to an understanding of twentieth-century French philosophy. That this book has never been translated into English shows how little the anglophone world is yet acquainted with some key aspects of this corpus. Bachelard, like Bergson, is one of those authors that we now need to rediscover. The extract translated below addresses a central concept in his work, one that came to play an important role not only in French thought, but also in general culture: the concept of problematic.

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What does Bachelard mean by rationalisme appliqué?

Mary Tiles

Mary Tiles examines Gaston Bachelard’s “rationalisme appliqué” and argues that “applied rationalism” is an account of empirically (materially) engaged reasoning, hard to grasp because it represents a quite radical departure from philosophical norms, particularly those that analytic philosophy inherited from the logical positivists.

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Corrationalism and the problematic

Gaston Bachelard

This text is a translation by Mary Tiles of sections seven and eight of the third chapter of Gaston Bachelard, Le Rationalisme appliqué, taken from the fifth edition, 1975, pp. 50–60.

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