Research Article


DOI :10.26650/arcp.270624   IUP :10.26650/arcp.270624    Full Text (PDF)

Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence

Murat Ertan Kardeş

This study aims an analysis of Blaise Pascal’s conception of power. Unlike Descartes, Pascal’s distinction between the order of the will, as the order of the heart, and the order of the flesh, as the order of worldly desires, stands out as a fundamental feature of his thought. Therefore, Cartesian reason does not function rationally on two levels, according to Blaise Pascal, who makes distinctions between various centers of power and various forms of rationality: First, the organization of power cannot be solely based on ideas. Secondly, the imagination not only challenges reason, but it also establishes the foundation upon which reason is built. By defining the boundaries of reason, Pascal not only discovered a modus operandi to make better use of reason, but also demonstrated the issues raised by trying to apply reason in places where it has no purpose at all. In this context, the field of effects generates reasons of its own and cannot be grasped through the lenses of reason. In any potential conflict between an interest and an idea, the interest always holds the upper hand. That being said, an authority cannot acquire authority if it does not first establish a legitimate connection. For this reason, each force generates its own ideas, feelings, and beliefs. Only the sword bestows, according to Pascal a true right. Consequently, justice is the appearance of the force that uses the sword to claim its right. Pascal’s philosophy provides two crucial perspectives on power to consider: First, power offers its own rationality; it is not irrational in the face of reason. Second, power can be viewed autonomously within the contexts of power, imagination, and concupiscence management thanks to this rationality.

DOI :10.26650/arcp.270624   IUP :10.26650/arcp.270624    Full Text (PDF)

İktidar Düşünürü Olarak Blaise Pascal: Güç, İmgelem ve İstek

Murat Ertan Kardeş

Bu makale Blaise Pascal’i bir iktidar düşünürü olarak incelemeyi amaçlamaktadır. Pascal’in, Descartes’tan farklı olarak akıl düzeni dışında iradenin yani yüreğin düzeni ve tenin yani dünyevi isteklerin düzenini ayırt etmesi, düşüncesinin temel bir özelliği olarak öne çıkmaktadır. Böylelikle düzenler arasında farklı güç odakları ve farklı rasyonalite tipleri gözeten Blaise Pascal için Kartezyen akıl iki açıdan rasyonel olarak işlemez. Birincisi gücün düzeninde fikirler yetersiz kalır. İkincisi ise imgelem akla rakip olmanın ötesinde aklın üzerine yaslandığı zeminin kurucusudur. Aklın sınırını çizen Pascal, hem aklı daha etkin kullanmanın bir yolunu bulmuştur hem de aklın hiç işlemediği alanlarda akılla kavrayış geliştirmenin yarattığı sorunları göstermiştir. Bu bağlamda etkiler alanı aklın nedenleriyle anlaşılamaz aksine etkiler alanı kendisine ait bir akıl üretir. Güç hâkim olur, imgelemi kurar ve dünyevi istekleri yönetir. Bir fikir ile bir çıkar arasındaki mücadelenin galibi her zaman için güç sahibi olan çıkardır. Ancak bir güç, meşruiyet ilişkisi üretmeden iktidar olamaz. Bu yüzden her iktidar kendi duygularını, inanç ve fikir tiplerini de üretir. Pascal açısından gerçek bir hakkı ancak kılıç verir. Bu yüzden kılıçla hakkını elde eden iktidar kendisini adalet olarak sunar. Pascal’in düşüncesi iktidarı düşünmek açısından iki önemli yönelim sunmaktadır: İlk olarak iktidar akıl karşısında bir irrasyonalite değildir aksine kendisine ait bir rasyonalite sunar. İkinci olarak ise bu rasyonalite iktidarı güç, imgelem ve isteklerin yönetimi olarak kendisine özgü bir otonomi içerisinde ele almaya olanak tanır. 


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


An analysis of Blaise Pascal’s conception of power is the goal of this essay. It attempts to read Pascal as a thinker on the “paradox of power” rather than as a philosopher of “politics” [la politique] or “the political [le politique]. Thus, rather than interpreting the “political sphere” with its particular elements, Pascal makes an effort to consider the particular paradoxes surrounding “power”. When placing this essay in the framework of the existing scholarship on Pascal, it takes the stance that puts him in the same family as political thinkers like Tocqueville, Clausewitz, and Machiavelli. It does not rule out the interpretation that regards Pascal as a continuation of Jansenism and St. Augustinianism. However this method is not followed in this essay because the author is the pioneer of an approach that addresses the autonomy of power with its paradoxes. Unlike Descartes, Pascal’s distinction between the order of the will, as the order of the heart, and the order of the flesh, as the order of worldly desires, stands out as a fundamental feature of his thought. Therefore, Cartesian reason does not function rationally on two levels, according to Blaise Pascal, who makes distinctions between various centers of power and various forms of rationality: First, the organization of power cannot be solely based on ideas. Secondly, the imagination not only challenges reason, but it also establishes the foundation upon which reason is built. By defining the boundaries of reason, Pascal not only discovers a modus operandi to make better use of reason, but also demonstrates but also demonstrated the issues raised by trying to apply reason in places where it has no purpose at all. In this particular situation, the field of effects generates reasons of its own and cannot be grasped through the lenses of reason. In any potential conflict between an interest and an idea, the interest always holds the upper hand. An organized power cannot acquire legitimacy if it does not first establish a legitimate connection. For this reason, each power generates its own ideas, feelings and beliefs. Only the sword bestows a true right, according to Pascal. Consequently, justice is the appearance of the force that uses the sword to claim its right. Pascal’s philosophy provides two crucial perspectives on power to consider: First, power offers its own reasoning; it is not irrational in the face of reason. Second, power can be viewed autonomously within the contexts of power, imagination, and concupiscence management thanks to this rationality. In this context, is it possible for there to exist a worldview that the monarch cannot completely dominate? Does a fragmented notion of power result from the autonomization of public opinion and the diversity of opinions? Is the quest for emancipation in vain as well? Is it possible to see equality and rightful resistance as rights? These inquiries actually aid in locating Pascal within the field of political philosophy. Some political philosophers throughout history have derived their philosophical theories on the notion that alienation may be overcome in order to achieve freedom. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is an example of this trend. A second trend is to concentrate more on administration and management. This category can include theorists like Montesquieu and Tocqueville. The relationships between power and dominance inside the autonomous domain of power itself are the subject of a third tendency. Pascal is a member of this third category. Regarding the distinctions between theories that consider how political law and existing systems of power operate within their own internal logic, Pascal neither suggests how normative functioning should be done nor suggests. Concepts of emancipation and collective liberation frequently provide a different safe haven from the realm of power. Thus, Pascal’s idea can both treat the illness of “politicization” (also known as “childishness”) away from power and satisfy the withdrawal and political hopelessness of the libertines of the 17th century. Pascal has previously declared that no one is waiting to be saved on the platform of power and that the picture of salvation is merely a weaker representation of helplessness or an increasingly strong representation of acquired strength.


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APA

Kardeş, M.E. (2024). Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence. Archives of Philosophy, 0(60), 58-71. https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624


AMA

Kardeş M E. Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence. Archives of Philosophy. 2024;0(60):58-71. https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624


ABNT

Kardeş, M.E. Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence. Archives of Philosophy, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 60, p. 58-71, 2024.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Kardeş, Murat Ertan,. 2024. “Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence.” Archives of Philosophy 0, no. 60: 58-71. https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624


Chicago: Humanities Style

Kardeş, Murat Ertan,. Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence.” Archives of Philosophy 0, no. 60 (Jul. 2024): 58-71. https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624


Harvard: Australian Style

Kardeş, ME 2024, 'Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence', Archives of Philosophy, vol. 0, no. 60, pp. 58-71, viewed 25 Jul. 2024, https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Kardeş, M.E. (2024) ‘Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence’, Archives of Philosophy, 0(60), pp. 58-71. https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624 (25 Jul. 2024).


MLA

Kardeş, Murat Ertan,. Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence.” Archives of Philosophy, vol. 0, no. 60, 2024, pp. 58-71. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624


Vancouver

Kardeş ME. Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence. Archives of Philosophy [Internet]. 25 Jul. 2024 [cited 25 Jul. 2024];0(60):58-71. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624 doi: 10.26650/arcp.270624


ISNAD

Kardeş, MuratErtan. Blaise Pascal as Thinker of Power: Force, Imagination and Concupiscence”. Archives of Philosophy 0/60 (Jul. 2024): 58-71. https://doi.org/10.26650/arcp.270624



TIMELINE


Submitted13.01.2024
Accepted26.05.2024
Published Online30.06.2024

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