リュシアン・レヴィ＝ブリュル（Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, 1857-1939）はフランスの哲学者であり、また「未開人の思惟」について、その博学な知識を用いて考察したアーム チェア人 類学（民族学）者である。なお以下の年譜は、レヴィ＝ブリュルから影響を受けた宣教師かつ民族学者のモーリス・レーナルトのものと重複している部分がある が、その場合は【Maurice Leenhardt】と記している。
"Lévy-Bruhl saw that primitive thought is coherent and that savages make valid inferences from propositions even though their propositions are not in accord with experience but are dictated by culture and contained in beliefs which are demonstrably false from a logico-experimental standpoint." - Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1935), 'Science and Sentiment: an exposition and criticism of the writings of Pareto' ,Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts; University of Egypt, Vol. 3, Part 2, (December 1935 [Giza)., p.186
「しかし、だからといってこれは原始人の間にしか見られないということにはならない。そう主張したからこれは誤りであって私自身これに対して用 心した。世の中には絶縁体を以てへだてられた前論理的なもの、論理的なものという二つの心性があるわけではない。あるのは、同じ社会の中におよび、屡々 （しばしば）――おそらくは常に――同じ精神の中に同時に存在する異なった心的構造である」レヴィ＝ブリュル「日本版序」（1928年）『未開社会の思惟 （上）』山田訳、p.7、岩波文庫、1953年
Lévy-Bruhl’s first books on mental functions in primitive societies provoked a vigorous reply from Durkheim in his Elementary Forms of the Religious Life of 1912. Many further criticisms appeared in 1926–1927, in particular those of Larguier des Bancels, Raoul Allier, and Olivier Leroy. Lévy-Bruhl examined these objections seriously and was led to sharpen and revise his thought. As a result between 1931 and 1938 he published three further books on the same subject He now became more demanding as to the sources of his documentation, relying more frequently on the work of the best ethnographers. Also, without completely abandoning any of the basic concepts of his first analysis (mysticism, prelogical character, participation, occasionalism), he inverted their order of importance, putting mysticism ahead of the prelogical character. And, above all, he introduced a new principle of explanation that tended to dominate all the others, which he called “the affective category of the supernatural.” He still maintained, to be sure, that primitive peoples are sometimes insensitive to contradiction, but he strongly affirmed that “the fundamental structure of the human mind is the same everywhere.” Primitive men have concepts, but their knowledge is not rationally classified and organized, which leaves the field clear for “mystical preconnections” when the emotional, affective element supplements logical generalization. This colors their entire thinking, since for them ordinary experience is pervaded by mystical experience; similarly, for them the supernatural world, although different from the natural world, is not separate from it, and they pass unaware from one to the other. The prelogical is therefore explained by the mystical and this in turn by the predominance of affectivity over reason. Indeed, affectivity gives a special tonality to primitive representations, and it thus has that element of generality that makes it a category of thought.
In his last works Lévy-Bruhl reduced the study of primitive mentality entirely to an analysis of the mystic experience and the affective category of the supernatural that characterizes and explains it. He showed how this experience of the supernatural emerges mainly in the face of the unusual. He devoted other chapters to the various representations and beliefs marked by this affective category, for example, occult influences, beings and objects that bring bad or good luck, various rituals, magic, revelations as to the secret nature of things and animals, dreams, visions, the presence of the dead, and all of mythology and the techniques for participating in the mythical world.
In these books Lévy-Bruhl was also concerned with transitions
between the primitive and the modern mentalities. He found such
transitions especially in the development of prereligion into
elaborated religion, or of myth into tale and folklore; but at the same
time he emphasized more and more that both mentalities persist.
Hence the theory that at the outset seemed to postulate a
principle of radical difference between the thinking of primitive and
civilized peoples became more flexible. This evolution continued in the
notes that Lévy-Bruhl was writing toward the end of his life and that
probably would have become a book had he lived longer. These notes were
collected and published after his death in a small book entitled Les
carnets de Lévy-Bruhl (1949). In it he stated that he was prepared to
give up the term “prelogical,” and he even questioned the specificity
of the characteristics he had attributed to the primitive mentality.
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