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Charles De Koninck

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Title: Charles De Koninck  
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Subject: Arthur Eddington, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, Thomism, Marcus Berquist, Jean-Marie De Koninck, Whidden Lectures, Philosophy in Canada
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Charles De Koninck

Charles De Koninck (29 July 1906 – 13 February 1965) was a Belgian-Canadian Thomist philosopher and theologian. As director of the Department of Philosophy at the Université Laval in Quebec, he had decisive influence on Catholic philosophy in French Canada and also influenced Catholic philosophers in English Canada and the United States. The author of many books and articles in French and English, he contributed to a variety of philosophical fields including natural philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, and political philosophy, but he also wrote on theology, especially Mariology.

As the founder of the so-called Laval School of philosophy, De Koninck was the mentor of many philosophers, including Ralph McInerny, who published an English translation of De Koninck's collected works.


De Koninck was born in Torhout, Belgium, the son of Louis De Koninck and Marie Verplancke, both natives of Torhout. In 1914, De Koninck family emigrated to the United States, where Louis De Koninck worked as a builder and contractor in Detroit, Michigan.[1]

In 1921 Charles was sent back to Belgium to complete his education. In Belgium he first went to school in Ostende, where his main interests were mathematics, chemistry, and physics, but where he also read widely in Latin, Greek, Dutch (Flemish), and English Literature.[2] He then studied philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, where he became a Thomist. After a spell at the University of Detroit, he returned to Louvain and earned a doctorate summa cum laude with a dissertation on the Sir Arthur Eddington's philosophy of science.[3]

In 1934, De Koninck went to the Université Laval in Quebec, where he became a full professor the following year, a position which he held for the rest of his life.[3] Between 1939 and 1956 he was dean of the faculty of philosophy at Laval.[4]

De Koninck and his family hosted and entertained many notables in their Quebec City residence, among them Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his fiery writer-artist wife, Consuelo Suncín during their five week stay in the province in the spring of 1942. The De Konincks' precocious eight year old son, Thomas, whom Saint-Exupéry met, may have served as an inspiration for the extraterrestrial visitor of his most famous novella, The Little Prince.[5]



External links

  • The Canadian Encyclopedia: Charles De Koninck by Elizabeth A. Trott.
  • Biographical note on Charles de Koninck by Lawrence Dewan
  • Good Catholic Books: Charles De Koninck page (Includes full text of many of his works).
  • Charles De Koninck Wiki.
  • (French) De la primauté du bien commun contre les personnalistes

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