Brunschvicg, Léon (lāôNˈ brünˈshvēk) [key], 1869–1944, French philosopher, b. Paris. From 1909 until his death he taught at the Sorbonne. Brunschvicg's philosophy, which has had considerable influence on modern European thought, is usually called critical idealism. He extended the teachings of Kant and Hegel and also drew upon Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Pascal. He regarded mathematics as the highest level yet reached by human thought and maintained that judgment preceded all other activities of the mind. For Brunschvicg, God was whatever enables us to live the life of the spirit. His principal works are La Modalité du jugement (1897); Les Étapes de la philosophie mathématique (1912); Le Progrès de la conscience dans la philosophie occidentale (2 vol., 1927); and La Raison et la religion (1939).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.