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How should we understand the ambivalent relationship of philosophy and religion in the writings of Victor Cousin? Indeed, according to the eclectic doctrine of Cousin, religion provides, in the form of a spontaneous feeling, early representation of the true system of reality and thought of which it is the task of the philosophy to produce a totally considered analysis. In this sense, religion is subordinated to philosophy and not the reverse. However, because of controversies that agitated the nineteenth century about the role of religion in education, discourse of various kinds followed in the writings of Cousin with respect to religion. Indeed, if Cousin began by defending the autonomy of teaching in relation to different religions, he nevertheless joins most often in the struggle of Catholics against the educational principles of Republicanism. Some later texts even transform the philosophical discourse into a real moral catechism, subject to the dogmas of the Catholic religion. It is these ambivalences in Cousin’s discourse on the relationship of philosophy and religion that this article seeks to examine.

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