Marcel Gauchet does not leave indifferent. By its intellectual production, first of all. Several of his essays are landmark, they deal with secularization in the West (The Disenchantment of the World, in 1985), the inflation of individual rights (Democracy against itself, in 2002) or the thorny issue of transmission (For a political philosophy of education, in 2013). Certain works give the horizon… hers certainly. He does not leave indifferent, then, by his positions. The historian and philosopher – also former editor-in-chief of the review Debate – divides the intellectual scene. Some salute a man freed from good thinking and the tyranny of public opinion. Others see him as an intellectual who, under cover of questions, is neither more nor less than a zealous defender of tradition. Even one of the leading figures of the neo-shareholders.
We went to meet him, one autumn morning, in his little Gallimard office, to look back on his intellectual career and the controversies that enamelled him. Without taboo.