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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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Forms of Self-Knowledge

Forms of Self-Knowledge

(p.274) (p.275) 6 Forms of Self-Knowledge
Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves

Michael Moriarty (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

‘Self-knowledge’ in early modern writers is not simply psychological or introspective awareness of self: it can also involve apprehending oneself in terms of a conception of human nature and of human beings’ position in relation to the world and to God. The writers studied in the rest of the chapter combine both perspectives. Charron insists, not unlike Montaigne, on the difficulty of understanding movements of thought and emotion. Bossuet works on the basis of a Cartesian body/soul distinction, stressing the mind’s tendency to lose itself in identification with the body. Abbadie, a Protestant, likewise incorporates the new philosophy in his understanding of self-knowledge (the sensible qualities of objects are in our minds not the objects themselves). He stresses our proneness to self-deception. François Lamy stresses the paradox: the mind is essentially self-aware, yet constantly loses awareness of its own workings.

Keywords:   self-knowledge, Charron, Bossuet, Abbadie, François Lamy

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