L'Esprit Créateur 55 (2):34-47 (2015)

Gregor Kroupa
University of Ljubljana
The article tackles the relationship between genius and analogy in Descartes’s early writings and the programmatic writings of the Encyclopédie. For Descartes, ingenious analogies between phenomena that are not obviously related belong more properly to poetic truth discourse, whereas philosophy must be content with the more easily observable and methodical mechanistic comparisons. In the encyclopedic ordering of Diderot and d’Alembert, on the other hand, ingenious analogies are not specific to any particular field of knowledge, since genius consists precisely in connecting even the most remote branches of the whole tree of knowledge. I argue that the theoretical core of both approaches can be traced back to Aristotle’s theory of metaphor insofar as it relies on the analogy of genera rather than species.
Keywords genius  analogy  metaphor  Descartes's dreams  tree of knowledge  Encyclopédie
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