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Fallen Nature, Fallen SelvesEarly Modern French Thought II$
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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

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Early Modern Religious Perspectives

Early Modern Religious Perspectives

(p.158) (p.159) 3 Early Modern Religious Perspectives
Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves

Michael Moriarty (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Concupiscence, the immoderate and disorderly love of created things, is central to Augustine’s account of the Fall. Early modern writers frequently link their analyses of it to the concept of self-love. This concept in turn has a twofold history, traced here to the Stoic conception of the law of self-preservation and the Aristotelian theory of friendship. Augustinian accounts (Jansenius, Senault, Pascal) of the corruption of desire and self-love by the Fall are analysed. Sometimes self-love appears as a concern with one’s pleasure, sometimes as a concern with one’s advantage. It forces us into hostile and competitive relationships with others. Mystical writers such as St François de Sales and Fénelon develop a concept of love of God purified from self-interest. Nicole develops the concept of an enlightened self-love, whereby people refrain from indulging their immediate selfish impulses because they grasp that this is not in their long-term best interests, and not for any religious reasons.

Keywords:   concupiscence, self-love, pleasure, interest, Fall, Jansenius, Senault, Pascal, St François de Sales, Fénelon

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