David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Oxford University Press (2006)
From the late sixteenth to the late seventeenth centuries, French writing is especially concerned with analyzing human nature. The ancient ethical vision of man's nature and goal (we achieve fulfillment by living our lives according to reason, the highest and noblest element of our nature) survives, even, to some extent, in Descartes. But it is put into question especially by the revival of St. Augustine's thought, which focuses on the contradictions and disorders of human desires and aspirations. Analyses of behavior display a powerful suspicion of appearances. Human beings are increasingly seen as motivated by self-love: they are driven by the desire for their own advantage, and take a narcissistic delight in their own image. Moral and religious writers re-emphasize the traditional imperative of self-knowledge, but in such a way as to suggest the difficulties of knowing oneself. Operating with the Cartesian distinction between mind and body, they emphasize the imperceptible influence of bodily processes on our thought and attitudes. They analyze human beings' ignorance (due to self-love) of their own motives and qualities, and the illusions under which they live their lives. Their critique of human behavior is no less searching than that of writers who have broken with traditional religious morality, such as Hobbes and Spinoza. A wide range of authors is studied, some well-known, others much less so: the abstract and general analyses of philosophers and theologians (Descartes, Jansenius, Malebranche) are juxtaposed with the less systematic and more concrete investigations of writers like Montaigne and La Rochefoucauld, not to mention the theatre of Corneille, Moliere, and Racine.
|Keywords||Philosophy, French Philosophical anthropology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Buy the book||$165.62 new (6% off) $175.00 direct from Amazon $182.37 used Amazon page|
|Call number||B1815.M68 2006|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
William D. Wood (2009). Axiology, Self-Deception, and Moral Wrongdoing in Blaise Pascal's Pensées. Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (2):355-384.
Similar books and articles
Michael Moriarty (2011). Disguised Vices: Theories of Virtue in Early Modern French Thought. Oxford University Press.
David Cunning & Seth Jones (2008). Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves: Early Modern French Thought II (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):644-645.
Peter Langford (1986). Modern Philosophies of Human Nature: Their Emergence From Christian Thought. Distributors for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Academic.
Xavier Martin (2001). Human Nature and the French Revolution: From the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic Code. Berghahn Books.
Ulrich Ricken (1994). Linguistics, Anthropology, and Philosophy in the French Enlightenment: Language Theory and Ideology. Routledge.
Henry Vyverberg (1989). Human Nature, Cultural Diversity, and the French Enlightenment. Oxford University Press.
John D. Lyons (2005). Before Imagination: Embodied Thought From Montaigne to Rousseau. Stanford University Press.
David Cunning Seth Jones (2008). Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves: Early Modern French Thought II (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):pp. 644-645.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads13 ( #331,855 of 1,902,889 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #446,006 of 1,902,889 )
How can I increase my downloads?