JANKÉLÉVITCH, VLADIMIR (1903–1985), French philosopher. Born at Bourges, Jankélévitch taught at Prague, Toulouse, and Lille until he was dismissed by the Vichy government in 1940. In 1945 he became professor at Lille, and later at the Sorbonne. His first important work, Henri Bergson (1931), showed his sympathy for this philosopher. Jankélévitch's own views, influenced by Bergson, appeared in his dissertation, L'Odyssée de la conscience dans la dernière philosophie de Schelling (1933) and La mauvaise conscience (19662). His concern was with overcoming consciousness directed to the unchangeable past. Retrospective considerations halt life's course. Irony (L'Ironie ou la bonne conscience, 19502) does not resolve the situation. Time alone leads man on. The Traité des vertus (1949) and Philosophie première (1954) explore the metaphysics of time and the creative virtues of the instant. Other works are La Mort (1966) and Le Pardon (1967). As a musicologist, he wrote on Debussy, Fauré, and Ravel.
Barthélemy-Madaule, in: Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, 56 (1951), 406–35; 65 (1960), 511–24; C. Smith, Contemporary French Philosophy (1964), 181–201; Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 4 (1967), 249–50, incl. bibl.
[Richard H. Popkin]
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