L’art de faire crédit ou comment ne pas prendre les autres pour des imbéciles

Isabelle Delpla

Philosophia Scientiae (2002)

  • Volume: 6, Issue: 2, page 181-216
  • ISSN: 1281-2463


The principle of charity is here analysed as one form of interpretive benevolence whose aim is to give others credit and not to take them for idiots. In this very aim, however, it is in competition with other maxims, each of which fights against one kind of stupidity. That being the case, we must criticize the false alternatives between charity and contempt, on the one hand, and charity and nonsense, on the other. The principle of charity cannot be granted legitimacy as a principle specific to the social sciences on the basis of a moral aim or on the ground that it is an indispensable condition for interpretation. Comparing and contrasting it to other maxims of interpretation allows us to limit its interpretive relevance, but also to criticize other interpretive practices inspired by Wittgenstein. Ultimately, the virtues expected of the principle of charity for the social sciences are just as well provided by a principle of parsimony, which is not open to the objections resulting from the unconditional and exclusive application of the charity. There remains the problem of knowing how far to apply Occam’s razor and to what extent parsimony does not just amount to an evasion of the difficulties and the objects of interpretation.

How to cite


Delpla, Isabelle. "L’art de faire crédit ou comment ne pas prendre les autres pour des imbéciles." Philosophia Scientiae 6.2 (2002): 181-216. <http://eudml.org/doc/103676>.

author = {Delpla, Isabelle},
journal = {Philosophia Scientiae},
language = {fre},
number = {2},
pages = {181-216},
publisher = {Éditions Kimé},
title = {L’art de faire crédit ou comment ne pas prendre les autres pour des imbéciles},
url = {http://eudml.org/doc/103676},
volume = {6},
year = {2002},

AU - Delpla, Isabelle
TI - L’art de faire crédit ou comment ne pas prendre les autres pour des imbéciles
JO - Philosophia Scientiae
PY - 2002
PB - Éditions Kimé
VL - 6
IS - 2
SP - 181
EP - 216
LA - fre
UR - http://eudml.org/doc/103676
ER -


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