The moral analysis of error in Pierre Nicole.

Author/s Denis Kambouchner
Publishing Year 2016 Issue 2016/4
Language French Pages 16 P. 661-676 File size 55 KB
DOI 10.3280/SF2016-004007
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Nicole is one of the finest French seventeenth-century examiners of the human mind. One can find in his Essais de morale a number of brilliant developments on the characteristic themes of Jansenist anthropology: weakness of reason towards the passions, power of self-love (overestimation of one’s own mind and properties), tendency to flee the truth and take refuge in comforting illusions. But in Nicole’s writings, self-blinding is rarely complete. Besides, men’s errors are due for a noticeable part to a form of inertia of the mind, which can be compared with laziness as described at the same time by La Rochefoucauld. The moral anthropology one encounters when striving to measure the power of reasoning is therefore less unitary than expected.

Keywords: Self-love, Augustinianism, Cartesianism, error, judgment, morals, passions, reason, self-deception

  1. - Arnauld et Nicole 1965: Antoine Arnauld et Pierre Nicole, La Logique ou l’art de penser, édition de Pierre Clair et François Girbal, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 1965.
  2. - Arnauld et Nicole 2011: La Logique ou l’art de penser, éd. de Dominique Descotes, Champion, Paris 2011.
  3. - Descartes 2010: René Descartes, Les Passions de l’âme, éd. de Geneviève Rodis-Lewis, nouvelle prés., Vrin, Paris 2010.
  4. - La Rochefoucauld 2002: François de La Rochefoucauld, Maximes et réflexions, éd. de Laurence Plazenet, Champion, Paris 2002.
  5. - Malebranche 1979: Nicolas Malebranche, OEuvres, vol. I, éd. de Geneviève Rodis-Lewis, Gallimard, Paris 1979.
  6. - Nicole 1733 (a, b… h): Pierre Nicole, Essais de morale, chez Guillaume Desprez, Paris 1733, 8 vol.
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  8. - Nicole 2015: Id., OEuvres morales, éd. par Thibault Barrier, Manucius, Paris 2015.
  9. - Pascal 1991: Blaise Pascal, OEuvres complètes, éd. de Jean Mesnard, vol. 3, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris 1991.

Denis Kambouchner, L’analyse morale de l’erreur chez Pierre Nicole in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 4/2016, pp 661-676, DOI: 10.3280/SF2016-004007