The code civil between enlightenment and restoration.

The heritage of Portalis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    The French Code civil, including the tradition of legal practice and scholarship it stands for, is the child of two parents: Enlightenment and Restoration. They came together in the person of Jean Etienne Marie Portalis (1746–1807), who was the main drafter of the code under Napoleon. I want to investigate which line of philosophical argument he followed in uniting the two and critically assess the value of this argumentation. In section 1 I briefly sketch the codification of civil law in the (post-)revolutionary setting of the time, as well as Portalis’ philosophical background. Section 2 turns to the principled and wide-ranging discourse he delivered at the occasion of the formal presentation of the draft civil code to the legislature. This discourse, in turn, found its deeper roots in an extensive treatise that he wrote prior to the former, on the use and abuse of reason in times of Enlightenment (Section 3). I will focus, in particular, on the twin concepts of knowledge (section 4) and nature (section 5) in this treatise. From this vantage point, section 6 analyzes the eclectic way in which Portalis uses his philosophical godfathers Montesquieu and Rousseau, while section 7 shows why his preoccupation with the protection of established property rights can explain such eclecticism. Section 8 takes stock and submits that at least one of Portalis’ arguments presents a real challenge to Enlightenment philosophy up until the present day.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-175
    JournalDiametros - An Online Journal of Philosophy
    Issue number40
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Fingerprint

    Heritage
    Enlightenment
    Restoration
    Treatise
    Discourse
    Philosophical Arguments
    Eclecticism
    Draft
    Nature
    Codification
    Revolution
    Civil Law
    Person
    Argumentation
    Property Rights
    Napoleon Bonaparte
    Vantage Point
    Abuse
    Godfather
    Montesquieu

    Keywords

    • Code civil, Enlightenment, Revolution, J.E.M. Portalis, knowledge, nature, Montesquieu, Rousseau, property rights

    Cite this

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    title = "The code civil between enlightenment and restoration.: The heritage of Portalis",
    abstract = "The French Code civil, including the tradition of legal practice and scholarship it stands for, is the child of two parents: Enlightenment and Restoration. They came together in the person of Jean Etienne Marie Portalis (1746–1807), who was the main drafter of the code under Napoleon. I want to investigate which line of philosophical argument he followed in uniting the two and critically assess the value of this argumentation. In section 1 I briefly sketch the codification of civil law in the (post-)revolutionary setting of the time, as well as Portalis’ philosophical background. Section 2 turns to the principled and wide-ranging discourse he delivered at the occasion of the formal presentation of the draft civil code to the legislature. This discourse, in turn, found its deeper roots in an extensive treatise that he wrote prior to the former, on the use and abuse of reason in times of Enlightenment (Section 3). I will focus, in particular, on the twin concepts of knowledge (section 4) and nature (section 5) in this treatise. From this vantage point, section 6 analyzes the eclectic way in which Portalis uses his philosophical godfathers Montesquieu and Rousseau, while section 7 shows why his preoccupation with the protection of established property rights can explain such eclecticism. Section 8 takes stock and submits that at least one of Portalis’ arguments presents a real challenge to Enlightenment philosophy up until the present day.",
    keywords = "Code civil, Enlightenment, Revolution, J.E.M. Portalis, knowledge, nature, Montesquieu, Rousseau, property rights",
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    The code civil between enlightenment and restoration. The heritage of Portalis. / van Roermund, G.C.G.J.

    In: Diametros - An Online Journal of Philosophy, No. 40, 2014, p. 149-175.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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