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Pedagogy of the philosophy dissertation in France: paths to freedom, or thèse-antithèse-foutaise?

McKeane, J. ORCID: (2023) Pedagogy of the philosophy dissertation in France: paths to freedom, or thèse-antithèse-foutaise? Modern & Contemporary France, 31 (3). pp. 323-338. ISSN 1469-9869

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09639489.2022.2164566


This article studies the philosophy dissertation as a cultural practice within the educational institution in France. It argues that this cultural practice has a strong association with the preservation and ongoing creation of French national identity. I present findings from a survey of pedagogic materials offering advice for students taking the philosophy exam at baccalaureate level. Having given an overview of the cultural importance of the philosophy dissertation, I present the ways in which the general principles of method and structure taught are justified. We then move into the advice given relating to the dissertation structure that is habitually recommended – an introduction and then three parts (most often thesis, antithesis, synthesis). The article considers the reasons why such pedagogic practices can seem to fall back into prescriptivism or formalism, but also seeks to draw out the ways in which the philosophy dissertation can be a more open, uncertain form of thinking.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:109592
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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