Machiavel avec rococo. Une métacritique de la raison cynique


Machiavelli with Rococo: A Metacritic of Cynical Reason

The aim of this study is to understand the problem of emergence of cynical reason in modern times, with reference to Sloterdijk (1983). We start from Stanley (2007) who argues, in response to some critiques of postmodernism, that current cynicism originates from the dialectic of the Enlightenment. We highlight Sloterdijk’s contribution to the understanding of dialectic of Enlightenment as strategic cynical reason. However, Sloterdijk does not analyze the historical conditions for the emergence of cynicism in the Renaissance and the modern age. He offers in exchange a physiognomic description of cynical characters in order to apply them in the presentation of contemporary cynicisms. We first find a justification for Sloterdijk's physiognomic method: cynicism is not to be understood from the history of ideas and concepts, but from attitudes. Then we consider the analysis of the notion of attitude. This allows us to show that the physiognomic method is nonetheless deficient, because the problem of conflicting attitudes requires us to consider the relationship between attitude and discourse.

Keywords: cynical reason, Sloterdijk, dialectic of Enlightenment, discourse, attitude, Skepticism

[Full Article PDF]