Parain-Vial, Jeanne (1912—)

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Parain-Vial, Jeanne (1912—)

French philosopher. Born in 1912; agrégée in philosophy, University of Lyon, 1938; Ph.D., Sorbonne, 1951; teacher at Aix-en-Provence; teacher at University of Dijon.

Selected works:

Le sens du Présent: Essai sur la rupture de l'unité originelle (1952); De l'être musical (1952); Gabriel Marcel ou les niveau de l'éxperience (1966); La nature du fait dans les sciences humaines (1967); Analyses structurales et idéologies structuralistes (1969); Tendances nouvelles de la philosophie (1978).

Jeanne Parain-Vial has been known particularly for her philosophy of time and her philosophy of science and aesthetics. Although her early interest in time was sparked by reading the philosopher Gabriel Marcel, she considers herself a follower of Plato because of her belief that some ways of understanding, especially those of certain historical periods, are superior to others. According to her, the sciences of different times approximate an order which is divinely given; these approximations succeed to various degrees, each being partly but never wholly correct. For Parain-Vial, while science is objective because results can be reproduced, it is also subjective because it cannot escape the limitations of human experience and intelligence. The humanities are even more subjective than science, because they involve a reality that is beyond individual experience and replication, and which depends upon interpretation.


Kersey, Ethel M. Women Philosophers: a Bio-critical Source Book. NY: Greenwood Press, 1989.

Catherine Hundleby , M.A. Philosophy, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada