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Jean Mosconi (1942–)

An alumnus of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, and currently Professor Emeritus at Université de Paris I, Jean Mosconi has pursued a career that shuttles between the argumentative rigour characteristic of modern logic and a more traditional commitment to the history of philosophy that still provides the cornerstone of a French philosophical education. Following in the steps of Roger Martin and Jacques Bouveresse, Mosconi taught the course on logic at the Sorbonne for many years. Much of his research has been in formal logic and the philosophy of mathematics, with a particular emphasis on questions of formalisation. His doctoral thesis, submitted in 1989, was an inquiry into the theory of automata, a subject that was and remains crucial to research in cybernetics.

Mosconi was a member of the Cercle d’Épistémologie from the Cahiers’ third issue onward. He contributed one article to the journal, an essay on Condillac and Rousseau that appeared in volume 4 devoted to Lévi-Strauss alongside an article of Jacques Derrida’s that would achieve wider fame upon its appearance in Of Grammatology. Mosconi’s essay, which adumbrates some of his later concerns in cybernetics, was taken from a masters thesis he had prepared for Georges Canguilhem and was influenced by Louis Althusser’s lectures on Rousseau delivered at the ENS around this time (lectures which resulted in Althusser’s own contribution to the Cahiers in volume 8).

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse:

Jean Mosconi, ‘Sur la théorie du devenir de l’entendement’, CpA 4.2 [HTML] [PDF] [SYN]

Select bibliography

  • ‘Logique de l’autoreproduction et antinomies sémantiques’. In Langages, connaissances et pratiques, eds. Noël Mouloud and Jean-Michel Vienne. Lille: Presses Universitaires Septentrion, 1982.
  • La Constitution de la théorie des automates. Thèse de Doctorat d’État, Université de Paris I, 1989.
  • ‘Sur quelques capacités et incapacités des machines’. Bulletin de la société française de la philosophie 85:3 (1991).
  • ‘Calculabilité et formalisation’. In Le Formalisme en question: le tournant des années trente, ed. Frédéric Nef and Denis Vernant. Paris: Vrin, 1998.
  • ‘Quelques Difficultés du structuralisme mathématique’. In De la méthode: recherches en histoire et philosophie des mathématiques, ed. Michel Serfati and Michel Bitbol. Franche-Comté: Presses Universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2002.
  • ‘Règles de formation et règles de transformation: de Carnap à Z. Harris’. In Carnap aujourd’hui, ed. François Lepage, Michel Paquette, and François Rivenc. Paris: Les Éditions Fides, 2002.