Learning Philosophical Gestures with Ignorant Schoolmasters and Texts

1 Teaching philosophy in schools, middle-schools or highschools, and universities, as I have been doing for a number of years, leads one to ask oneself many questions about the meaning and the modalities of one’s action or about the very nature of the knowledge at stake in each encounter with pupils or students. I will state them here as they have imposed themselves on me over time, before explaining how I have been able to organize and deploy them in my research work, based on the reading of the works of Plato, Montaigne and Jacques Rancière. [1]


Is there a philosophical knowledge? And if so, how is it really distinct from other forms of knowledge and pseudo-knowledge?


What is taught or transmitted about philosophy over time? Theories, doctrines, concepts, problems, reasonings, languages, metaphors, personae? Philosophical gestures, and if so, which ones?


For whom is philosophy? Who can decide? Are there designated audiences and others that would be less relevant? When one sees philosophy libraries and one is a young woman, one can for example doubt one’s legitimacy to be interested in them.
How to deal with certain effects of authority linked to the inscription of philosophical practice in an institutional framework that gives it a certain place and produces certain representations? Can we ensure that they do not produce rejection, inhibition or learned helplessness in certain students?


Where can philosophy be learned? At school, in the city, in the café, in the garden, in the seclusion and enclosed space of a tower, like Montaigne? In books, to which we devote a lot of time when we are students or teachers of philosophy? And if so, how can reading them be formative, especially for students? How can we make them see the life of thought of which the texts are in reality only the trace?

6 To explore these questions, I began by re-reading Jacques Rancière”s The ignorant Schoolmaster. By questioning the figure of Jacotot, the “philosophico-mythical” [2] hero presented to us by Rancière in this book, I came to wonder more broadly about the relationship of the schoolmaster to knowledge and authority, and about the different figures of ignorant schoolmasters existing in philosophical works. I thus discovered a group of personae with a “family resemblance”. [3] Their similarities stem from an original way of questioning the philosopher’s relationship to knowledge, power, and transmission, each in their own way, based on distinct ethical and political presuppositions. So I asked myself: What can these “ignorant” schoolmasters teach us? And how can they teach us anything?

7 I am not talking about an initial or “abecedarian” ignorance, as Montaigne puts it, which should be destroyed, reduced, or fought against, but rather about a known and assumed ignorance, allowing to incarnate in a different way the role of master, teacher, and transmitter of knowledge. Western philosophy is full of ignorance. As an example, let us quote the famous ironic ignorance of Plato’s Socrates, the “learned” ignorance of Nicolas de Cues’s Idiot, the “strong and generous” ignorance of Montaigne’s wise man, the “radical” ignorance of the Cartesian subject who has passed the test of methodical and hyperbolic doubt, or even Joseph Jacotot’s voluntary ignorance of the impossibility for the pupil to learn without the schoolmaster’s explanation in Rancière’s work.

8 These different forms of ignorance are embodied in a set of figures emblematic of the radical questioning of all knowledge and of all forms of authority that emanate from it. These figures represent masters who address disciples, heirs or readers, not to submit them to a doctrine or a power, but to awaken them to an emancipating philosophical, ethical, or political questioning. However, these figures appear to be at odds with the usual images of mastery or teaching, since they refuse, each in their own way, to wear the garb of the scholar.

9 This is why I have chosen to borrow Jacques Rancière’s formula of “ignorant schoolmaster” to designate them. It allows me to synthesize the paradox they represent, although it refers, for each of the philosophies studied, to a distinct questioning and to sometimes opposite conclusions on the way the philosopher must relate to knowledge and to his disciples. I have centered my reading on the works of Plato, Montaigne, and Rancière for two main reasons.

10 The first is that their texts present very rich personae of ignorant schoolmasters whose role seems to me essential in the general economy of the work: they are true “conceptual personae” [4] as described by Deleuze and Guattari, i.e. personae who give substance to the philosophical gesture and who “intervene in the very creation of its concepts”. [5] These personae allow the philosopher to express and reflect his founding gesture and to invent an “ethos” or a new philosophical posture, paradoxically based on a certain form of ignorance.

11 The second reason is that they are part of very different historical contexts and develop philosophies that are in many ways distinct, even for Plato and Rancière opposed. This allows us to see how, in spite of such distant historical roots, these figures of ignorant schoolmasters can fulfill similar functions for the philosopher. The issue is not mainly to compare these philosophies, or the associated figures, but rather to compare the status and function of the latter insofar as they participate in the staging and transmission of a certain relationship to ignorance and knowledge through an original philosophical gesture.

12 But stopping at the analysis of the figures is still not enough to understand the formative power of these works, to grasp what we learn by reading them. We must also take into account the way they are written. The thought of these three authors does not exist independently of very singular writings. One cannot reduce their philosophies to a few questions, theses or concepts, by amputating them of the stylistic invention which gives them body and redoubles, through the choices of writing, the philosophical gestures of the ignorant schoolmasters that they stage. This would amount to betraying them and denying ourselves access to what they invite us to experience, each in their own way.

13 I therefore wondered: to what extent do the figures and writings of ignorant schoolmasters that these three philosophers compose and mobilize in their works allow them to make their readers experience the significant philosophical gestures of this unprecedented relationship to ignorance and knowledge? My reading hypothesis is that their formative power lies in the incessant effort of these philosophers to make their founding philosophical gesture, the figures that embody it, and the writings that express it coherent.

Practicing Philosophy

14 To study the way in which philosophical gestures are transmitted, one can refer to the texts of Pierre Hadot who, in developing the idea of philosophy as a “way of life”, is inspired by the model of “spiritual exercises” inherited from the ancient schools of philosophy, but also by the notion of “form of life” elaborated by Wittgenstein in Philosophical investigations. [6] I also drew on the work of the Gradphi (Research Group for the Analysis of Philosophical Discourse [groupe de recherche sur l’analyse du discours philosophique]), which analyzes philosophical writing from the perspective of the pragmatics of discourse, particularly that of Frédéric Cossutta, which gives meaning to the notion of philosophical gesture: “A speculative set is not simply a body of utterances, a fixed system of concepts and theses; it is just as much a protocol of virtual utterances, performed and reperformable, a process of analysis, a set of gestures or acts of thought identified in acts of discourse associated with oral performances or writing processes.” [7] Reading the text thus consists in going beyond the knowledge deposited in it to access the intellectual gesture of which it is only the trace and which we must reappropriate as readers to understand and practice a philosophy. It is thus a question of analyzing how philosophical texts can act on their readers, make them act and, by that, act on reality itself. [8] In this context, the form of the work is not secondary, it gives access to the philosopher’s thought dynamics. The text must be considered as a staging and its reading as a “performance” of the philosophical gesture, which requires the reader’s skill and the creativity of a reading that knows how to restore meaning to a writing well beyond its context of emergence.


15 I have taken up this term “gesture” to try to approach what philosophy does and how it acts on us, mainly through the reading of philosophers’ texts. If we stick to the literal meaning, speaking of “philosophical gesture” amounts to using a metaphorical designation that allows us to represent a thought in action, as a process rather than as a result. Jean Starobinski, in his work Montaigne en mouvement, evokes the “mental gestures” that we would make in contact with the “prodigiously active language” [9] of the Essays.

16 More precisely, I consider the philosophical gesture as the matrix of the philosopher’s questions and concepts, as what allows their emergence. The gesture does not symbolize the philosopher’s concepts, it is not a pictorial representation of them, but rather appears as a scheme that generates the problems and the concepts themselves. It can be compared to the idea of method, conceived etymologically as a path or a dynamic of thought at work in life in general and in the act of writing in particular. As far as the gesture of the ignorant schoolmaster is concerned, it corresponds to a certain style of questioning and relating to others that challenges the dominant conceptions of knowledge and power. It has a critical or destructive dimension, which leads to the questioning of previous philosophies, or to the contestation of the relevance of the gestures initiated by the predecessors, by a game of displacement, subversion, or detour. [10] It also has a creative dimension: it represents a new way of posing problems, of thinking, of acting, of relating to others, of doing philosophy and of living as a philosopher.

17 However, this gesture does not exist “weightlessly”. It is necessary to identify the figure and the text that make it possible to understand its nature and meaning. The philosophical gestures of ignorant schoolmasters are manifested in particular in the dynamics of the master’s discourse and/or the text, in the way the philosopher grasps figures, concepts, theses or arguments and progresses by playing them against each other or with each other, often in a paradoxical way, in order to avoid any doctrinal closure or any position of authority. In such a perspective, centered on the philosopher’s gesture, we have to wonder about the status of the figure of the ignorant schoolmaster, since it allows a staging of the latter and helps the philosopher to reflect, to specify, to adjust his own gesture, but also to represent it as possible and desirable to others in order to ensure its perpetuation.


18 I consider these figures in light of two references: first, the work of Martine de Gaudemar who, in her book La voix des personnages, develops an ontology of personae to understand what they are and what they do to us. I then relied on the notion of “conceptual personae” developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. The personae “carry out the movements that describe the author’s plane of immanence”, [11] but one can also say that they give substance to the philosophical gesture and allow it to be intuited. From these works, I identify a triple role for this figure of the ignorant schoolmaster in the corpus studied:

19 • A matrix role: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari suggest that behind each philosophy, there is a “conceptual persona” carrying out the philosophical gesture at the origin of the work, although the philosophers erase the presence and the trace of it in their writings. They thus take the example of the character of the Idiot [12] (opposed to the scholastic) as the matrix of the Cartesian cogito, but also that of Socrates (opposed to the sophist) as the matrix of the Platonic dialectic.

20 • A reflexive role: the philosopher relies on the description of the figure in action in which he recognizes himself or from which he distances himself in order to think his own theoretical gesture, to name it, describe it and comment on it.

21 • A pedagogical role: the figuration of the gesture thanks to the conceptual persona finally allows the disciple/reader to understand it in order to appropriate it and reinterpret it, as the philosopher does, according to its idiosyncrasy and its historical context.

22 Finally, I study these conceptual personae by systematically comparing them with the counter-figures of learned and/or dominating masters. They serve as a foil and participate in the critique of previous philosophies, of the institutions in place or of competing discourses of philosophy.


23 Plato, Montaigne and Rancière have each invented or reinvented a genre and/or a style. They take on their full meaning in their relationship with the philosopher’s gestures, which they express in an original way. These writings represent philosophical choices and can be interpreted as such. The philosopher-writer elaborates in this way a posture and a singular mode of utterance, in coherence with the ethos of the ignorant schoolmaster, which play an essential formative role. The reading of the work is then to be conceived as an experience of thought to be redone and pursued, or even as a dynamic that goes beyond the text and in which each one is invited to take part.

24 There are several forms of genesis of the philosophical gesture. It can be the encounter with a figure that arouses new questioning and then the invention of a singular gesture and writing (Plato). The philosophical approach is sometimes elaborated at the same time as the writing and only finds its adequate conceptual persona afterwards (Rancière). The gesture, the figure and the writing can also evolve in parallel and mutually determine each other (Montaigne).

25 The following three brief vignettes summarize how the three dimensions I identify are articulated and respond to each other: in each of the works, the relationship of the ignorant schoolmaster to the disciple is analogous to the relationship that the book has with its reader, because they both participate in the same philosophical gesture, thus facilitating the formation of the reader-philosopher.


26 We can consider the Socratic mode of questioning and the Platonic dialogues as opportunities to appropriate philosophical gestures and to experience a certain style of thinking. Philosophy is seen here as a desire aroused by the perception of a lack and as an intellectual journey rather than as a mimetic reiteration of the supposed knowledge of the master or of the knowledge supposedly deposited in the text.


27 In Plato’s so-called Socratic dialogues, Socrates declares himself ignorant, questions his interlocutors, puts them to the test and refuses to take the place of the respondent in the exchange. He is famous for his irony, as long as one understands its very particular meaning. Michel Narcy [13] reminds us that in Greek, the term eiron, which applies to Socrates, is used by Aristophanes to describe the gymnast coated in oil who escapes from the grip during the fight. Socrates is ironic not because he says the opposite of what he thinks, but because he shies away from the demand for knowledge that is addressed to him, which always testifies to an erroneous conception of him and deserves to be challenged. In The Symposium, when Alcibiades tries to seduce Socrates in order to obtain his knowledge in exchange, he sees it as a content passing from the master’s soul to that of the disciple. Socrates makes him understand that he is mistaken about the nature of philosophical knowledge, and he exercises his erotic art, his know-how, which consists in arousing his interlocutor’s desire by revealing his ignorance, in order to lead him to his true object and to accomplish the dialectical path towards the essence. On the contrary, sophists, physiologists, “wise men” who are, for Plato, repulsive figures convey a misleading representation of knowledge and thought. They claim to make the disciple eschew a true knowledge of himself by letting him believe that he could have immediate access to knowledge, an illusion that the refutative work (elenchos) of the ignorant Socratic schoolmaster is methodically fighting.

A Dialogue Antidote to the Illusion of Possessing Knowledge

28 Plato’s writing consists in reinterpreting the “Socratic dialogue”, a widespread form at the time, in order to make it a staging of the reflexive splitting required by philosophical research and to encourage its reader to renew it internally. Analogously to the Socratic figure, the dialogue is an ignorant text. It does not give direct access to knowledge. It forces the reader to make a long dialectical detour to grasp the essence. The aporetic dialogue apparently produces no knowledge, except the negative knowledge which results from the purging of opinions and the highlighting of the ignorance of the eponymous persona. This text thus appears just as ironic and deceptive as the Socratic master, since it delivers no thetical knowledge. However, it indirectly teaches the attentive reader to internalize the dialectical gesture staged in the dialogue via the Socratic figure and encourages him to go back to the different questions thematized in the text. The dialogue also stages the confrontation of different forms of discourse which are all types of relationship to knowledge and power from which the philosopher distinguishes himself: that of the sophist, the eristic, the poet, the physiologist, the logographers. By confronting itself to other discourses, philosophical discourse can thus reveal its specificity and superiority: it defines and affirms itself in the recurrent friction with other uses of the logos.

Gradual Learning of the Dialectical Gesture

29 The precise analysis of the figures and counter-figures of ignorant schoolmasters and of the writing of the dialogues allows us to understand how the philosophical gesture of the ignorant Platonic master can take shape and be transmitted through the reading of the Socratic dialogues. Neither Socrates nor the dialogues deliver any knowledge in the strict sense of the word: on the contrary, they show that they know how to deal with ignorance which takes itself for knowledge. Those who frequent them assiduously can thus discover their ignorance or inconsistency by being directly questioned about the life they lead, and learn if not a knowledge, at least another relation to knowledge than the one maintained by the sophists for instance. Thus, the initiation to dialectics through the encounter with Socrates, or through the reading of the dialogues, must allow the disciple/reader to get rid of the idea of an easily accessible knowledge and to understand the necessity of indefinitely renewing research and to internalize the gesture of “questioning and answering”.


Learned master and ignorant wise man

30 In his Essays, Montaigne takes the time to describe at length the self-importance of “learned masters” who instrumentalize knowledge to give themselves a weight and an authority that they sorely lack. The pedants thus put into circulation a dead knowledge, a rehashed discourse which cannot be attached to any life of thought nor to any intellectual gesture. The Essays constantly denounce the dogmatic masters, those who have “the opinion of knowing”, this “plague of Man” that the ignorant wise man wants to cure. These philosophers and theologians, whose postures Montaigne describes and whose speeches he puts in series, appear in perpetual contradiction with each other and thus reveal the vanity of all human science. They all constitute examples of a misguided relationship to knowledge. Montaigne, on the contrary, claims to be Socrates, the “master of masters”: he reshapes his figure, as he rewrites the text of the Essays, to make it more and more obviously similar to himself. This Socrates, rid of his “demonry”, too suspicious for Montaigne in the context of the wars of religion, is desacralized and put at the level of a man. It embodies the “doctrine of ignorance” that Montaigne reinterprets in light of the writings of Nicolas de Cues. It allows him to calibrate and to think his own philosophical gesture of ignorant schoolmaster. As such, Montaigne was not fooled by the impotence of human reason to know everything, but he did not give up trying to grasp all the discourses that were available to him in order to judge them, to weigh them, to try them.

The Test of Judgment

31 Inspired by the Socratic “science of opposing”, Montaigne invents this philosophical gesture of testing that constitutes “the test of judgment”. In this way, he attacks all forms of dogmatism and “the very framework of doctoral thought”. [14] This gesture is also creative, in that it draws from the universal library and the richness of human experience to keep thought “in motion”, by the constant confrontation of contradictory human discourses and acts. This gesture, inspired by Socrates the Maieutician, enriched by the contributions of Pyrrhonian zetetics, allows us to carry out the investigation without respite and to prevent any dogmatic slumber, by obliging everyone to exercise their judgment on all subjects. With Montaigne we thus learn, if not some knowledge, at least a gesture of detachment with regard to our own knowledge. He only succeeds in doing this by staging himself in flagrante delicto of pedantry and by ironizing on his own shortcomings. But paradoxically, in order to exercise this critical gesture, he needs to know and master perfectly the different forms of knowledge of his time and the diversity of the discourses present in order to constantly oppose them to each other. The ignorance of the schoolmaster can thus only be learned or educated and must draw from all knowledge to undermine the authority of knowledge.

A Text Consubstantial with the Ignorant Schoolmaster

32 The writing of the Essays, through the richness and the variety of the materials it mobilizes, aims to stimulate the judgment of the reader, to put them on the hunt, to make them accomplish this gesture of weighing their own opinions and the discourse of all the figures of authority that they encounter. The proposed text is thus “not to instruct but to be instructed” [15] as Montaigne puts it. It does not claim to be a scholarly work that one would only have to read to become a scholar in turn, but it offers resistant material to the reader because of its abundance, which is difficult to master, and also because of its incessant contradictions and paradoxes. By its very form, the text breaks with the discourses of authority that constitute theological and philosophical treatises. Its tone is that of a conversation between Montaigne and the books, between Montaigne and his reader or between Montaigne and himself, rereading himself over the years. The constant rewriting of the Essays throughout his life does not lead Montaigne to correct the previous version in order to reinforce his theses or his argumentation. It pushes the reader to question what was left that was assured or affirmative in the discourse of the Essays. This use of the book as a register that can always be completed, as and when ideas arise, infinitizes the writing process and the gesture of the ignorant schoolmaster that underlies it. Only death interrupts an open work that everyone is invited to pursue for themselves, through their own reading. In spite of his denial of any teaching through his book, Montaigne aims at initiating his reader to this gesture of critical feedback on themselves, in order to bring them to fight against their own stupidity. To “unteach stupidity” [16] is in this sense to lead everyone to discover the poverty of their knowledge, the weakness of their opinions in order to fight against the learned pretension and the violence that is always associated with it. By revealing our universal, constitutional ignorance, the reading of the book thus frees the exercise of judgment from any dogmatic illusion and any fantasy of totalization of knowledge to allow it to be exercised constantly, on all subjects.



33 In Jacques Rancière’s work, the figure of the ignorant schoolmaster is linked to the question of emancipation. This emancipation is played out from person to person and does not result from an apprenticeship delivered methodically by a learned master. It is the effect of resonances between always singular paths that articulate intellectual adventures and sensitive adventures to allow the constitution of new subjects and the formation of common worlds. Among this profusion of adventures of which the philosopher makes himself the cartographer, those which “define another life of intelligence” and inaugurate other divisions of the sensible than those in which we are caught in spite of ourselves, we can extract and underline the adventure of Jacotot which opens The ignorant Schoolmaster. This political exile, who became a reader of French literature at the University of Louvain, had a kind of “philosophical experience” at the origin of an intellectual revolution. He understood on this occasion that the explanation that the schoolmaster delivers to the pupil has a completely different function than the one usually assigned to him: the schoolmaster is a cause of learning not because he explains, but because he places “his pupils in the circle from which they could come out on their own”, thereby revealing to them the equality of intelligences and the fact that “one could learn by oneself and without a master explicator when one wanted to, propelled by one’s own desire or by the constraint of the situation”. [17]

34 This account allows us to grasp the counterproductive nature of the posture of the “master explicator” that Rancière constantly denounces. The schoolmaster who explains is not the cause of knowledge but maintains the pupil in the illusion that he needs the teacher to learn and prevents the emancipation that is announced as the goal. Jacotot starts from the principle of the equality of intelligences: it means that one and the same intelligence manifests itself in all human activities, that one and the same capacity to signify and to understand is exercised each time someone speaks. Rancière takes up this principle and constantly denounces the Aristotelian separation between phonè and logos: making noise and speaking which makes it possible to discredit the speech of some. The simple fact that the master can make himself understood by his slaves or his pupils shows that there is only one intelligence at work, which Rancière endeavors to show through a whole series of scenes. Understood in this way, the figure of Jacotot is a very effective reflexive operator for Rancière, allowing him to question and explicate his own relationship to knowledge and authority. It leads him to identify a philosophical posture of “ignorant schoolmaster” breaking with the postures of learned masters such as the “explicator” (the “progressive” masters), the “demystifier” (Althusser or Bourdieu), or the expert (the one who makes reports and claims to keep the people away from public affairs for which he is incompetent).

35 What interests Jacques Rancière is the political displacement brought about by Jacotot’s invention, thus opening up the possibility of an authentic emancipation. This is quite different from what the progressive master or the Socratic master explicator, who are Jacotot’s counter-models in Rancière’s eyes, constantly promises and postpones. Finally, the master’s ignorance is not necessarily an absence of knowledge, but it corresponds to the fact of wanting to ignore the fiction of the inequality of intelligences, which locks everyone into the “naturalness of a place” and indefinitely postpones the time of emancipation. The ignorant schoolmaster is not the one who does not know anything: but “he puts the egalitarian relation in the commanding position”. [18]

A Gesture of Interruption and Opening Up

36 The Jacotist gesture, taken up by Jacques Rancière, is first of all a gesture of interruption that conditions the existence of politics. By refusing to renew the fiction of unequal order, which fixes each one in their place of scholar or ignorant, manual or intellectual, master or slave, it breaks the circle in which the “police” locks us up and brings out the contingency of any social order, its anarchy. The principle of equality of intelligence is a point of support to act for and to try to change the relationship between subjects. “[O]ur problem isn’t proving that all intelligence is equal. It’s seeing what can be done under that supposition”. [19] This philosophical gesture is not only the contestation of a certain social order. It allows, by highlighting and staging of other “sharing of the sensible”, that is to say other possible distributions of voices and bodies in the public space, to open everyone to disidentification and to subjectivation. This is true for the one who dominates as well as for the one who is dominated, for the learned as well as for the ignorant. The scope of the ignorant schoolmaster thus goes well beyond school learning, and questions in reality the conditions of existence of the political.

Egalitarian Writing

37 Rancière works on his writing as an ignorant schoolmaster, consistent with the principle of equality of intelligence inherited from Jacotot. Rancière’s essay is constructed in reaction to the usual categorizations of scholarly or academic “police”, which in one way or another amounts to a hierarchy of discourses and, for the author, to taking shelter behind the authority of a title, a discipline or a scientific method. It presents itself as a tool for exploration, research, and displacement in the field of discourse, without worrying about the usual boundaries established between scholarly speech and fiction or between noble and insignificant discourse or between philosophy and poetry. It is, like literature, the word of a man addressing himself to whoever wants to seize it, without any predetermined address.

38 Rancière also explicates his method of the scene. It allows him to make unexpected and significant connections between figures, times, places, or discourses that are usually disjointed, and thus to reveal other distributions of parts or roles that neutralize the usual positions of authority. These readings and writings carried out by Rancière under the lighting of the stage thus reveal another possible posture for the philosopher. As he resolutely refuses to occupy the position of master scholar, master thinker or even moralist, he must invent himself as a “cartographer of the possible”, [20] on the lookout for other shares of the sensible in cinematographic works, novels, or contemporary art as well as in current events or the archive.

39 Rancière’s very peculiar style also makes it possible to understand this posture of the ignorant schoolmaster that emerges from the text itself. His writing aims to “make the equal perceptible, in the very act of philosophizing”. [21] His reflection on the poetics of knowledge, on the writing of the historian or that of the sociologist gradually led Rancière to develop “a principle of egalitarian writing” which consists in “suppressing the hierarchy between the discourse that explains and that which is explained, to convey a common texture of experience and reflection on experience that crosses the boundaries of disciplines and the hierarchy of discourses”. [22] This principle of writing can be glimpsed in the seminal work Proletarian Nights, where Rancière recurrently uses the free indirect style to interweave his own words with those of the workers found in the archive. Even if this writing project remains incompletely realized on the scale of the work, it is fully part of it and constitutes a lever allowing Rancière to advance in the definition of his original philosophical gesture.


40 Through this quick journey through the works of Plato, Montaigne and Rancière, I have tried to show why their reading can be formative, even though they are by no means considered as works of scholars or as “instructing” works. These masters and texts are not ignorant in the sense that they are simply devoid of any knowledge: they are, from a certain point of view, bearers of different knowledge and know-how, but they refuse to make a dominating use of it or to maintain a fixed and sterilizing vision of knowledge, each in their own way. On the contrary, through their tone and their gestures, they manifest an entirely original relationship to knowledge that breaks with authoritarian or mortifying versions of mastery and draws on a certain form of ignorance to free the subject from alienating beliefs or postures. They invite us to be inspired by the intellectual, ethical, and political gestures they make and arouse in order to pursue in the present the research they initiate.


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