La morale universelle ou les devoirs de l'homme fondés sur sa nature [Universal morality or the obligation of man based on his nature]. Paul Henri Thiry Holbach.
La morale universelle ou les devoirs de l'homme fondés sur sa nature [Universal morality or the obligation of man based on his nature]

La morale universelle ou les devoirs de l'homme fondés sur sa nature [Universal morality or the obligation of man based on his nature]

Amsterdam: Chez Marc-Michel Rey, 1776. First edition, 3 volumes, 8vo, pp. [5], vi-xxiv, [1], 2-286; [5], 2-256; [5], 2-283; engraved vignette title pages; contemporary full mottled calf, gilt-decorated spines. red and black morocco labels; moderate wear, especially at the tops of 2 spines and the bottom of another; marbled edges and endpapers; ex-Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass. with bookplates and perforated stamps in the title pages; minor dampstains on the edges of a few leaves; a good, reasonably sound copy. As an early atheist and critic of the Church, Baron d'Holbach was an influential figure in the French Enlightenment. Known for his lavish dinner parties, he hosted various intellectuals such as Denis Diderot, Charles-Georges Le Roy, Jean-François Marmontel, abbé Guillame-Thomas-François Raynal, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Holbach's work here (heavily influenced by Locke and Hobbes), discusses a universal system of ethics and political philosophy based upon the nature of man. Holbach posited that people are concerned with their self-preservation and their own happiness, but are ultimately social creatures. Human happiness and self-preservation can be best achieved through altruistic co-operation with others, and according to Holbach, this co-operation is what motivates the acquiring of virtues. When individuals make this social contract with one another, they expect their governing body to function in a utilitarian manner to uphold their basic rights such as a right to property, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. When these rights were violated, Holbach argues, the people have a right to revolution. Volume I discusses a theory of morality, volume II the practice of morality, and volume III the duties of one's private life. Holbach often published anonymously, as his ideas were considered dangerous and contemptible, in a time when a humanist theory of morality was seen as anathema in a pre-dominantly Christian western world ("Paul-Henry Thiry Holbach," in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). See PMM 215. Item #54261

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