s’impose à la lettre

English translation: is called for, literally speaking

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase: s’impose à la lettre
English translation:is called for, literally speaking
Entered by: John Holland

11:08 Oct 21, 2014
French to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Philosophy
French term or phrase: s’impose à la lettre
From an academic text about Spinoza's philosophy. This section deals with the issue of whether the concept of "action" exists in the "Theological-Politcal Treatise":
De l’examen de ces affects présentés comme des œuvres liées aussi bien à l’exercice de la raison que de la foi, il n’est donc pas possible de conclure en faveur de l’existence d’actions au sens technique du terme. Est-ce à dire qu’il faille considérer que Spinoza ne disposait pas de cet appareil conceptuel et qu’il l’a forgé ultérieurement ?
S’il est difficile de trancher cette question dans la mesure où elle revient à interpréter un silence, il n’est plus possible dans le cas présent d’invoquer le fait que les deux ouvrages ne visent pas le même objectif et qu’il n’est pas nécessaire dans le Traité théologico-politique d’entrer dans le détail de l’analyse des différents types des affects, puisque Spinoza dans le paragraphe 20 du chapitre V opère précisément une distinction entre les œuvres relevant d’un enseignement de la raison et les œuvres relevant d’un enseignement de l’Ecriture qui recoupe celle que l’Ethique établit entre action et passion. Il est donc étonnant de voir qu’il ne mentionne pas cette distinction simple, alors qu’elle ***s’impose à la lettre***.
tatyana000
Local time: 10:34
is called for, literally speaking
Explanation:
Here is how I would translate the sentence containing the phrase in question:
It is thus quite surprising that Spinoza himself does not mention this simple distinction here, given that it is called for, literally speaking.

Something that is "called for" is both "requisite" and "appropriate"; I think that fits the author's use of the verb "s'imposer".
http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/s_imposer/4196...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/called for (in the Phrasal verbs section)

The author is suggesting that, given how Spinoza distinguished between reason and things like writing and the passions in both of the works under consideration (the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and the Ethics), it is surprising that he did not make that same distinction here. It it surprising because the distinction seems both fitting and (logically) required.

I translated "à la lettre" as "literally speaking". I think the author means that the letter of the text itself suggests that the distinction in question would apply. Also, I think that the use of "speaking" gives a nice contrast to the "silence" mentioned in the first part of the passage.


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Note added at 4 days (2014-10-25 16:39:36 GMT)
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Maybe "given that it would seem to be called for" would be better. It's another option, in any case....
Selected response from:

John Holland
France
Local time: 10:34
Grading comment
Thank you! I like "literally speaking" very much for the reason you mentioned.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +1self-evident
Silvija Gavrilovic
4is called for, literally speaking
John Holland
3applies it perfectly
nweatherdon


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
self-evident


Explanation:
or obvious

Silvija Gavrilovic
United States
Local time: 04:34
Native speaker of: Native in SerbianSerbian, Native in Serbo-CroatSerbo-Croat

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Francis Marche
2 hrs
  -> Merci!
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17 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
applies it perfectly


Explanation:
He doesn't specify the distinction, but he applies it perfectly.

A more literal "imposes/uses it to the letter" would probably be OK, as would be "applies it with [near] perfect consistency".

nweatherdon
Canada
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Carol Gullidge: I don't think so, as "elle" (standing for "distinction") here is the subject of the reflexive verb "s'imposer"
4 hrs
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3 days 22 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
is called for, literally speaking


Explanation:
Here is how I would translate the sentence containing the phrase in question:
It is thus quite surprising that Spinoza himself does not mention this simple distinction here, given that it is called for, literally speaking.

Something that is "called for" is both "requisite" and "appropriate"; I think that fits the author's use of the verb "s'imposer".
http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/s_imposer/4196...
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/called for (in the Phrasal verbs section)

The author is suggesting that, given how Spinoza distinguished between reason and things like writing and the passions in both of the works under consideration (the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus and the Ethics), it is surprising that he did not make that same distinction here. It it surprising because the distinction seems both fitting and (logically) required.

I translated "à la lettre" as "literally speaking". I think the author means that the letter of the text itself suggests that the distinction in question would apply. Also, I think that the use of "speaking" gives a nice contrast to the "silence" mentioned in the first part of the passage.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 days (2014-10-25 16:39:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Maybe "given that it would seem to be called for" would be better. It's another option, in any case....

John Holland
France
Local time: 10:34
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 28
Grading comment
Thank you! I like "literally speaking" very much for the reason you mentioned.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



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