Perpetrators or Victims? The Transformation of the Philosophical Interpretation of Infanticide at the Turn of the 18th Century. The representations of infanticide that took root in the imagination of Francophone intellectuals in the early modern period seem to have been inspired mainly by the reflections of three authors who, at successive times, shaped the moral and social identity of this phenomenon: Guy Patin (1601-1672), Pierre Bayle (1647-1706), and Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733). The article examines the contributions on infanticide offered by these authors, arguing for the existence of a literary link between them. It focuses in particular on the reception of Mandeville’s view in order to show how deeply it influenced the philosophical interpretation of this crime in 18th century French culture.
Keywords: Infanticide, Guy Patin, Pierre Bayle, Bernard Mandeville, Jacques-François Deluc, Émilie du Châtelet, Cesare Beccaria, Pietro Verri, Louis de Jaucourt, Voltaire