Paul Jackanich

Visiting Assistant Professor of French
All FacultyModern Languages

Contact Information
Phone: +17244501558

Paul Jackanich


  • Ph.D. in philosophy, Université de Montréal
  • M.A. in philosophy, Concordia University
  • G.D.L. in law, University of Law at London
  • B.A. in philosophy, Duquesne University

Selected Research

My research focuses on the French Enlightenment, and seeks to understand the development and normative influence of modern concepts like individualism and social science. I am mainly interested in the Quarrel between the Ancients and Moderns, Rousseau’s critique of progress, and Tocqueville’s attempts to reconcile religion and tradition with liberalism. At the moment, I am translating a French commentary on Leibniz’s dynamics and his discovery of vis viva. In the past, I helped translate the “Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of AI” from French to English.

Courses Taught

In addition to teaching the language itself, I also teach courses in French on philosophy and history. These range from introductory courses such as Critical Thinking, to those focused on more specific topics. One such course examines Tocqueville’s study of Lower Canada with a view to better understanding contemporary issues in Quebec. Another traces the emergence of key Enlightenment concepts like progress by surveying some of the most important works of philosophers like Voltaire, Turgot, Holbach, Fontenelle, Rousseau and Maistre.

It is not merely historical curiosity, but rather the quest to understand our situation today that has compelled me to explore this epoch, where many of the foundations of our society can be uncovered. To study these foundations is to know who you are, to understand that, in all eras, people have not thought like you, and to appreciate the uniqueness of your perspective.

Selected Publications

  • “A Genealogy of Unmasking: Antiquity to Modernity” In The American Sociologist (forthcoming).
  • “L’homme du monde et l’homme vrai dans les Rêveries de Rousseau: s’immoler pour la vérité” in Le sentiment de l’existence: Lectures des Rêveries du promeneur solitaire de Rousseau. Edited by Thierry Belleguic and Philip Knee. Paris: Éditions Hermann, 2021.
  • “The End of Tolerance: The Age of Revenge.” In the Journal of Social, Economic and Political Studies. Vol. 44, no. 3-4 (Autumn-Winter 2019): 318-338.

Professional Experience

Former GRIPP fellow (Groupe de recherche en philosophie politique de Montréal)

Advice for Students

As an undergraduate, I formed many close relationships with my professors, often visiting them during office hours to discuss their research and current affairs. On two occasions, this resulted in a different professor teaching me a directed studies course. The most important advice that I could give to my students to succeed is to communicate with their professors. I consider it a privilege to provide my students with the same experiences that I had with my professors, which I continue to cherish to this day.


  • Mountain and road biking
  • Cross country and downhill skiing
  • Golfing
  • Trap shooting