Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Fallen Nature, Fallen SelvesEarly Modern French Thought II$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Moriarty

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291038

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291038.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 August 2020



(p.60) (p.61) 1 Approaches
Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves

Michael Moriarty (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Two broad approaches to human nature found in early modern writers are discussed. The first approach, descriptive, focuses on identifying and describing the key properties of human nature, and frequently aims to use this description as grounds for ethical norms (as in the Aristotelian and Stoic traditions). La Bruyère’s Les Caractères takes this approach, but his characters are as much social as psychological types, and their behaviour is interpreted in terms of relationships rather than individual dispositions. His ‘essentialism’ is a vehicle not only of moral but of social critique. Finally, there is a discussion of how far women and children are incorporated into this vision of human nature. The second approach, problematic, emphasizes the difficulty of identifying the intrinsic properties of human nature. This is sometimes linked to a stress on the difficulty of self-discovery. But the contribution of Augustine’s theology is also crucial: original sin has transformed and corrupted human nature.

Keywords:   Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Guillaume Du Vair, Pierre Charron, La Bruyère, Augustine

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .