Lyon dissertation no. 13. MS

Title Lyon dissertation no. 13. MS
Date 1785 - 1787
Type Academic prize contest entry
Physical Description Bibliothèque de l'Académie de Lyon, MS 237-4, ff. 205-220.
Language French
Content Advice on educational benefits of travel
General discussion of the utility of travel
Moral considerations of travel
NotesThe reviewer of the contest, count Laurencin, discarded this dissertation as worthless. The form of the dissertation is to explain the sort of travel the author would take his pupil on.

The author opens by stating that 'common man', who judge everything by their own example, might judge travelling not fit to improve education and character. However, travel - if correctly performed - is very formative: the quick sequence of events during travel accelerate the gathering of experience. It also improves virtue, understood here most of all in a philanthropic sense: the experience of the poverty of some of our fellows cannot fail to inspire noble thoughts and actions. The planned travel experience includes witnessing oppression, and even opression of the worthy by the unworthy. A visit to Ferney, the last residence of Voltaire, is an opportunity to consider the good deeds of the Philosopher. Inspiriing in the pupil the respect towards men of letters is essential in more than one respect: it contains experiences of virtue, and the learning of ways to express one's outrage. The second half of the dissertation extends a similar argument to the inspiration that travel provides for poetry and painting, as well as the appreciation of these forms of art.

However, this form of travel is not within the reach of everyone. The dissertation concludes: "What will be the kind of person who will be able to travel the way my pupil does? Those whose intelligence has been trained since their childhood, who could think ('pensera') before the more common of man start to reason ('raisonnera'). The others should not travel."