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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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La Rochefoucauld on Interest and Self–Love

La Rochefoucauld on Interest and Self–Love

(p.225) 4 La Rochefoucauld on Interest and Self–Love
Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves

Michael Moriarty (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

La Rochefoucauld’s work is difficult to place ideologically: it shows affinities with Augustinian thought but also with secular thinkers and the preoccupations of court culture. Early responses to his work reflect this difficulty. Given the changes over time to the text of the Maximes, it is perhaps impossible to give a satisfactory account of the relationship in his thought between self-love and the pursuit of self-interst. In an early fragment, later discarded from the Maximes, he presents self-love (in a manner echoed by psychoanalysis) as a narcissistic delusional force, driving us into conflict with others and distorting our relationships with the objects of our desire. However, in a later text, he offers a more morally neutral account of self-love, allowing us to distinguish true friendship from false.

Keywords:   Jacques Esprit, Jacques Lacan, love, friendship

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