Wahl created it because he felt the lack of an alternative to the Sorbonne (University of Paris), where it would be possible to give voice to non-academic discourses; it became the place where non-conformist intellectuals — and those believing themselves to be so—- were tolerated and given consideration.
It 1974, after Wahl's death, it inspired the foundation of the Collège de philosophie.
On March 4, 1963, it hosted the conference from which originated the rift between Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. Derrida gave the lecture Cogito and the History of Madness, a critique of Foucault, that possibly also prompted Foucault to write his works The Order of Things (1966) and The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969).
- Emmanuel Levinas (1982). Éthique et infini, p. 47.
- Cogito and the History of Madness collected in Derrida  Writing and Difference.
- Carlo Ginzburg , Il formaggio e i vermi, translated in 1980 as The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller, trans. Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), xviii. ISBN 978-0-8018-4387-7
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