Jean François Lyotard

Biography of Jean François Lyotard

Jean-François Lyotard (10 August 1924 – 21 April 1998) was a French philosopher, sociologist, and literary theorist. He is well known for his articulation of postmodernism after the late 1970s and the analysis of the impact of postmodernity on the human condition. He was co-founder of the International College of Philosophy with Jacques Derrida, François Châtelet, and Gilles Deleuze.


Jean François Lyotard was born in 1924 in Versailles, France to Jean-Pierre Lyotard, a sales representative, and Madeleine Cavalli. He went to primary school at the Paris lycée Buffon and Louis-le-Grand. As a child, Lyotard had many aspirations: to be an artist, an historian, a Dominican monk, and a writer. Lyotard describes the process of realizing he could not become a monk, an artist, an historian, or a writer as "fate" in his autobiography called Peregrinations. Lyotard studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. His master's thesis, Indifference as an Ethical Concept, analyzed forms of indifference and detachment in Zen Buddhism, Stoicism, Taoism, and Epicureanism. After graduation, with the France's National Center for Scientific Research, he held a research post. In 1950, Lyotard took up a position teaching philosophy in Constantine in French East Algeria. Lyotard earned a Ph.D in literature with his dissertation, Discours, figure (published 1971). He married twice: in 1948 to Andrée May, with whom he had two children, Corinne and Laurence, and for a second time in 1993 to Dolores Djidzek, the mother of his son David (born in 1986).

[Report Error]