• International,

Research team for philosophical rationality and knowledge (ERRAPHIS)

Publié le 14 mai 2013 Mis à jour le 14 mai 2013
  • Research

From the AERES report :

“The intense research activity of ERRAPHIS joined to an academic strategy breaks with the stereotype of the lone thinker. It involves young researchers to a large extent, privileges collaborative over individual work, and persues a systematic internationalisation of research. It promotes the use of information-technology in training for research and announces activities and open-access publicationits dedicated website : www.europhilosophie.eu . (…) The quantity and quality (insofar as one can judge on a necessarily partial basis) of the realisations of ERRAPHIS is worthy of praise. (…) We counted ( ..) 27 international conferences, symposia, study days, seminars, and intensive internships. These involve a considerable number of French, foreign and international institutions as partners. (…)Their capacity to recruit is significant. (…) The strategy and management of ERRAPHIS is admirable, and the life of this small team is very active.”

Between 2006 and 2010 ERRAPHIS has coordinated the programme "Subjectivity and aliénation. Métaphysique de la subjectivity and philosophie sociale" (PhiloSubSoc) financed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) (National Research Department) (“Subjectivity and alienation. Metaphysics of subjectivity and social philosophy’), directed by J.-C. Goddard, equally director of ERRAPHIS. ERRAPHIS, as the princiipal organisation within this project, disposed of a budget totaling 120.000 euros. Its first partner in the project, the Archives Husserl de l’ENS-Paris, received 65.000 euros, and PHIER of the University of Clermont-Ferrand received 45.000 euros.

The academic objective of the project was :

1) to produce new analyses of the philosophical and critical concept of subjectivity by juxtaposing transcendentalist with naturalist, classical with contemporary perspectives, and by also engaging with the fields of social philosophy and psycho-pathology ;
2) to theorize the process by which norms are subjectivised in order to offer social actors a model of reflexivity and action that is capable of transforming social reality.
The broad areas of research ERRAPHIS used to implement its programme were :


1. Transcendental philosophies/ philosophies of nature

a.) The relation Fichte/Schelling, insofar as their opposition is exemplary of the gap that pits a metaphysics of subjectivity against a metaphysics of nature. Members : J.M. Vaysse, J.C. Goddard, A. Schnell. Output : 2 monthly seminars at ENS-Paris and Paris-IV, 2 study days, 3 international symposia and 1 conference ;

b.) Contemporary philosophies of nature (Bergson, Whitehead) in contrast with the legacy of the transcendentalist problematic. Members : P. Montebello, JC Goddard, A. François. Output : 3 international symposia


2. Metaphysics of subjectivity and neoplatonism
Members : J. Casteigt, JM Vaysse, JC Goddard. Output : 4 seminars, 3 international symposia ;


3. Process of subjectivation and social criticism :

a.) Subjectivity and psychological alienation. Members : P. Montebello, J.C. Goddard. Output : 2 seminars and 1 study day.

b.) Subjectivity and social alienation : questioning the theory of socials norms as a locus of transformation of the conception of political action and from the point of view of the various modalities of criticism and the social struggle (Marx, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Gauchet). Members : G. Sibertin-Blanc, M. Bazzan, S. Legrand. Output : 3 international symposia, 1 two-monthly seminar at ENS-Paris, 1 international annual forum, 1 itinerant international seminar, 1 Summer school)


Between December 2006 and November 2010 each of these broad areas run by ERRAPHIS has occasioned study days, seminars, symposia and publications, linking ERRAPHIS researchers with researchers mostly international from outside the Consortium. Such activities, often taking place elsewhere (Louvain, Madrid, Prague, Brussels…), have allowed new collaborations to arise as well as new research projects and created new intersections between teams of various European research centres. It resulted in four large-scale international events (with over 100 participants) centred around the teams of ERRAPHIS :
1) The International Forum of political and social Philosophy (FIPPS) in July 2009 and July 2010 ;
2) The 2009 Summer school of the network OFFRES (Organisation Francophone pour la Formation et la Recherche Europeenne en Sciences Humaines) on “New incarnations of the State : Violence, law and society” ;
3) The conference “Fichte/Schelling. Interrogating Idealism” in collaboration with the Internationale J.G. Fichte-Gesellschaft and Internationale Schelling Gesellschaft, 2009 ;
4) The conference “Levinas, readings of Difficile liberté”, organised in association with the North-American Levinas Society, 2010. Works have been published, either in print, or online on the dedicated site that was financed in the wake of the project : www.europhilosophie.eu/recherche .


The management of the ANR programme has allowed the emergence of new academic strategies. This has led to a higher rater of involvement of doctoral and post-doctoral students in the formulation of the research projects and in taking academic initiative. Furthermore, it leads to privileging joint projects over individual ones by fostering informal research groups that link-up internal and external researchers both senior and junior, around well-defined projects. It pursues a strategy of internationalisation, either by associating researchers or teams from abroad with those of ERRAPHIS, or by hosting conferences and meeting of ERRAPHIS and foreign partners. The output of such networks is then immediately implemented in the research groups that ERRAPHIS supports, e.g., :
Groupe d’Etudes Fichtéennes de Langue Française
Groupe de Recherches Matérialistes
Groupe International de Recherches sur Nietzsche

The most pertinent result in terms of research and training is the creation, through the initiative of ERRAPHIS, of the Forum de Philosophie Politique et Sociale (FIPPS) as a permanent network between universities. The FIPPS links the Centre International d’études de la Philosophie Française Contemporaine (ENS-Paris) and the Centre d’études du vivant (Paris VII) with foreign institutes of social and political philosophy of the universities of Padova, Belgrade, Louvain, Liège and Bologna. Its mission is to form collaborative partnerships that lead to the emergence of a true European, public, space for reflection, and the production and distribution of knowledge. The FIPPS has organised three workshops that each lasted well over a week, both at Toulouse le Mirail and at the ENS-Paris (in 2009 and 2010). It also organises every year an itinerant seminar that takes place between different universities. Its work broaches such themes as : affects and political memory ; dissident subjectivities ; the clinic and politics norms and education ; the forms, discourse and uses of violence in popular struggles. FIPPS brings together philosophers, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and sociologists. Since July 2010, it also cooperates with the Brazilian network Universidade Nomade.

In the context of its strategy of interdisciplinary research ERRAPHIS has organised, in collaboration with researchers from Lettres, Arts et Sciences (LLA) and Sciences Humaines et Sociales (LISST) of the University of Toulouse le Mirail, workshops on “the anomic investments of space (Philosophy, Literature, Geography, Sociology, Clinic” and, based on the work of Brazilian anthropologist Viveiros de Castro, a workshop on titled “Metaphysics and cannibal politics”. De Castro discusses metaphysics and cannibal politics and relates it to chapters 10 and 12 of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, in order to clarify the theoretical, epistemological, and political issues at stake in the humanities.

ERRAPHIS has three offices in the Research Pavillion on the Campus of the University of Toulouse II : the Director’s office, an office of study representatives, an office for researchers. Each office has two computers, a colour printer and internet.

  • Exploitation of results

ERRAPHIS promotes its research activities on numerous levels :

At the level of the University of Toulouse II :
- Via the Unité Mixte de Service de la Maison de la Recherche (UMS 838) to promotie activities and highlighting the documentation (30 programme posters and flyers)
- Organising partnerships with selected research networks present on site (for example : the lectures of a researcher from Québec invited by ERRAPHIS on democracy and ‘Americanness’ in collaboration with the Institut des Amériques (IdA Pôle Sud-Ouest (GIS)).

At a local level : through its increasing cooperation with the Direction des Relations Internationales de la Ville de Toulouse who provide the necessary conference space for the organisation of the FIPPS.

At a national level : through the creation of the aforementioned association EuroPhilosophie who are representated at the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) as an interdisciplinary committee so that the MAEE is able to meet the requirements of international university collaboration within the field of the humanities. A Diplomatic Communication presenting the research and training resources (Erasmus Mundus EuroPhilosophie) of ERRAPHIS has been sent to all its members. MAEE currently finances an ERRAPHIS project at the University of Galatasaray in Turkey. Thanks to the work of Christian Duhamel, Vice-president of EuroPhilosophie, it has also developed relations with AVRIST, (Association Française pour la Valorisation des Relations Internationales Scientifiques and Techniques / French association for promoting international scientific and technological relationships). AVRIST brings together former and current embassy science and technology attachés and counselers and service members of international relations of various organisations.

At an international level : through the adoption of a politics of multilateral collaborations that brings it in direct contact with European and non-European partners in the formulation of research policies. The erstwhile European consortium Erasmus Mundus has been enlarged to include American and Asian universities to encourage the mobility of the European ERRAPHIS researchers and Master Mundus students. In this fashion ERRAPHIS, under the responsibility of A. François, is co-organiser, together with Japanese Hosei University, of a french-spoken seminar, which during two months brings together European and Japanese students and teachers around a corpus of contemporary French philosophy

The newsletter EuroPhilosophie is sent to 4.000 institutions and individual researchers world-wide. The site www.europhilosophie.eu is linked from hundreds of sites and blogs across the world and in particular from all the sites of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie with which EuroPhilosophie has signed an agreement.

ERRAPHIS possesses an valuable mechanism for the publication of online information with its site www.europhilosophie.eu. It hosts 400 articles and 300 downloadable texts, currently receives some 8.000 hits per month and has over 3.000 Google searches to its name. The Research Section hosts some 30 personal webpages from international researchers and some 20 European research groups (e.g., from Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy). The University of Toulouse II employes two people to manage the site. Miss Catherine Heyvaerts is its contents-manager ; Mr. Benjamin Perrot (University of la Rochelle, France) is responsible for the technical maintenance of the site. A collaboration accord has been signed with the company Uteam (Compiègne) for the development of the sharing and marketing of the site. The agreement foresees the creation of a website hosting research published under the aegis of an International Academic Committee. The site has led to a world-wide exposure for the research and training projects of EuroPhilosophie and of joint-programmes.

A second site EuroPhilosophie Éditions has been created for publishing the work of researchers. This community of researchers, founded by the Consortium EuroPhilosophie, is committed to the principles of open publishing that is free of charge and internationally accessible, founded on editorial principles that rival practices of some of the best printed journals, in order to construct networks of solidarity and expertise that support the editorial initiatives of young European and non-European researchers. It also hopes to initiate novel public/private partnerships by looking for ways to complement digital distribution with traditional publishing and to build up sustainable backlists which are future-proofed and to work for the distribution of knowledge and know-how in relation to digital publishing. This site currently receives some 6.000 hits a month.
In addition ERRAPHIS publishes much of its work in the collection Europaea Memoria, published by Olms Verlag of Germany (Hildesheim), in the collection of Éditions J. Vrin and the Presses Universitaires de France (both in Paris, France).


  • Higher education

In close collaboration with the service of International Relations of the University of Toulouse le Mirail, ERRAPHIS supports the programme of excellence in research training, by means of the research of the bilingual French-German Masters degree Erasmus Mundus “German and French Philosophy in Europe” (EuroPhilosophie) certified and financed by the European Commission for the period 2007-2012.

In this capacity ERRAPHIS manages a consortium of nine European universities as well as three from outside the EU. From within the EU : University of Toulouse Le Mirail, Catholic University of Louvain, the University of Luxembourg, the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, the Univerzita Karlova V of Prague, the University of Bologna, the University of Coimbra. From outside the EU : University of Hosei (Japan), University of Memphis (USA), Federal University of Sao Carlos (Brazil). In this capacity ERRAPHIS receives the following EU funds : a workbudget of 30.000 euros and approximatively 900.000 euros in scholarship funds. Furthermore, it receives 200.000 euros annually for participation costs, which it uses on training, notably by financing research activity and creating courses (ERRAPHIS thus finances a chair of German philosophy in Prague). Three secretaries are financed from its own funds and have been appointed to assist the general director of the Consortium in the administrative and financial management of the programme.

The training Erasmus Mundus EuroPhilosophie awards to each student a joint master degree in the following fields of research : 1) Classical German philosophy ; 2) German and French Phenomenology ; 3) Contemporary French philosophy. Over two years the student will study at three different universities. The training in research occurs by means of actual research : research activities are organised and conducted as much by the academic staff of the consortium as by students themselves (under the aegis of the l’Amicale des Etudiants et Diplômés EuroPhilosophie, subsidised from its own funds for up to 15.000 euros annually), and taking the form of itinerant seminars, study days and international symposia (Toulouse, Prague, Munich, Wuppertal). The best works of the master students EuroPhilosophie are published on the site EuroPhilosophie in the journal Interpretationes, especially created by the University of Prague. It is a journal that is directed by an editorial committee composed of students and graduates of EuroPhilosophie, while the university professionals constitute the academic committee of the journal. Each text is thus submitted to a double review) or in the collection Libri viredes published by Bautz (DE). The Catholic University of Louvain has set up a special research centre to support the master Erasmus Mundus : the Centre de recherches sur la Phénoménologie du Sujet et la théorie de l’Action (CPSA). Each year ERRAPHIS organises two meetings between students and researchers involved in the programme EuroPhilosophie around the research subjects of the team from Toulouse. Fifteen days with Italian researchers each autumn at the University of Toulouse ; and ten days each spring, at the ENS-Paris as part of an cooperation agreement with the Centre International d’Etude de la Philosophie Française Contemporaine. Every two years ERRAPHIS welcomes two or three non-European academics with a research and teaching scholarship of several months.

ERRAPHIS has fully integrated its doctoral programme in the academic project and hence recognises its PhD students as fully-fledged researchers. The Doctoral Programme consists of two components :
1.) A transdisciplinary doctoral seminar that is regularly organised by ERRAPHIS, in collaboration with the academic resources of the Maison de la Recherche of UTM, and, working in tandem with a interdisciplinary or “transversal” philosophy seminar, within the confines of the Ecole Doctorale ALLPH@ (Literature, Arts, Languages, Philosophy, Communication) ;
2.) An international doctoral training programme, managed by ERRAPHIS, which, in the future will result in a Doctoral Degree to be awarded jointly by the Graduate Schools of the Universities of ENS-Paris (ED 540), Louvain (BE), Bonn (DE) and Padova (IT). The application for an Erasmus Mundus Doctorate (rated 75+ out of 100), was submitted in 2009 by all the partner universities, and a consortium agreement is in in the process of being signed.

  • Organisation

To implement the programmes run by ERRAPHIS the Director convenes and chairs two councils :
- The Laboratory Council that elects the Director. The Director is responsible for the academic strategy of the Laboratory. The Laboratory is composed of all of the incumbent lecturers-researchers, the study and ITA secretaries, the fixed-term research assistants, the independent associate researchers, the contracted PhD students and the Student Representative.
- The EuroPhilosophie Coordinating Council, as per agreement of the consortium as signed by the Presidents of the University (and in the first instance with the European Commission). The Council is composed of the student secretaries responsible for certain specific tasks within the consortia (Selection, Japan seminar, etc.). The management of projects that involve outside partners (Master Mundus, programme ANR, Conferences, etc.) is effected by Committees of Initiative. The EuroPhilosophie committees consists of representatives from all the participating universities.