Journal title RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA
Author/s Francesco Toto
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/1 Language Italian
Pages 31 P. 86-116 File size 216 KB
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This article highlights the presence, in Helvétius’ works, of two different conceptions of heroic exemplarity, understood in both cases as adeep harmony between individual conduct and the general interest. On the first conception, heroism and its emulation are perfectly consistent with a materialistic and egalitarian anthropology based on self-love. Understood in this way, heroism presents psychological conditions (roughly, the connection between virtue and the reward of glory and its advantages), which are themselves subordinate to conditions of both a cognitive nature (an enlightened public education that produces a public capable of admiring virtue) and a political nature (the democratic structure of powers, capable of guaranteeing the proper functioning of the economy of esteem and the educational agencies that condition it). But on second conception, heroism consists in an aristocratic and sacrificial emancipation from all material or symbolic rewards, so consti tutes the only - contradictory, and ideological - solution to the ethical-political im- passe of non-democratic political systems, in which the concentration of power in the hands of the few, the perversion of public opinion, and the baseness of the passions that move citizens all together determine an otherwise insuperable corruption.
Keywords: Claude-Adrien Helvétius, heroism, glory, education, democracy.
Francesco Toto, «Le héros citoyen». Il modello eroico in Helvétius, tra psicologia, pedagogia, etica e politica in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 1/2023, pp 86-116, DOI: 10.3280/SF2023-001007