Helvetius, in his work on man, referred all differences between our species and the lower animals to certain peculiarities of organization, and so prepared the way for a conception of human development out of lower forms as a process of physical evolution.
He first visited Paris, where he saw a good deal of d'Alembert, Diderot, Barthelemy, Raynal, Helvetius, Baron d'Holbach and others of that circle, and was often a welcome guest in the saloons of Madame Geoffrin and Madame du Deffand.
In Paris he frequented the salons, especially those of Mme Graffigny - whose niece, Mlle de Ligniville ("Minette"), afterwards Mme Helvetius and his lifelong friend, he is supposed at one time to have wished to marry - Mme Geoffrin, Mme du Deffand, Mlle de Lespinasse and the duchesse d'Enville.
The impression was confirmed by the study of the English psychologists, as well as Condillac and Helvetius, and in1822-1823he established among a few friends the "Utilitarian" Society, taking the word as he tells us, from Galt's Annals of the Parish.
She was well versed in mathematics, which she studied at the university of Moscow, and in general literature her favourite authors were Bayle, Montesquieu, Boileau, Voltaire and Helvetius.
Best known of his French amies were Mme Helvetius, widow of the philosopher, and the young Mme Brillon, who corrected her " Papa's " French and tried to bring him safely into the Roman Catholic Church.
Rod.) See further Sainte-Beuve, Portraits contemporains, ii.; Antoine Guillois, Le Salon de Mme Helvetius (1894) and La Marquise de Condorcet (1897); O'Meara, Un Salon a Paris: Mme Mohl (undated); and J.
Freron on the orthodox side had his share of it, as well as Voltaire, Helvetius, Diderot and Montesquieu on that of the innovators.
But Rousseau had not, like Montesquieu, a position which guaranteed him from serious danger; he was not wealthy like Helvetius; he had not the wonderful suppleness and trickiness which even without his wealth would probably have defended Voltaire himself; and he lacked entirely the "bottom" of Freron and Diderot.
The book shows a wonderful knowledge of English, French, German, Italian and Spanish philosophers, and directly attacks Helvetius, who had in his De l'esprit declared a knowledge of science unnecessary for a philosopher.
Possessed of easy means and being of hospitable disposition, he kept open house for Helvetius, D'Alembert, Diderot, Condillac, Turgot, Buffon, Grimm, Hume, Garrick, Wilkes, Sterne, and for a time J.
Smith at this time lived in the society of Quesnay, Turgot, d'Alembert, Morellet, Helvetius, Marmontel and the duke de la Rochefoucauld.
Geoffrin, Helvetius, and the baron d'Holbach.
Mandeville's ironical paradoxes are interesting mainly as a criticism of the "amiable" idealism of Shaftesbury, and in comparison with the serious egoistic systems of Hobbes and Helvetius.
More and.more he learned from Cabanis and Helvetius to see in the will and the passions the determinants of intellectual life, and in the character and the temper the source of theories and beliefs.
837 French Influence on English Ethics 838 (Helvetius, Comte) German Influence on English Ethics 839 (Kant, Hegel) D.
In the derivation of Benthamism alone - which, it may be observed, first becomes widely known in the French paraphrase of Dumont - an important element is supplied by the works of a French writer, Helvetius; as Bentham himself was fully conscious.
Madame Necker entertained the chief leaders of the political, financial and literary worlds of Paris, and her Fridays became as greatly frequented as the Mondays of Madame Geoffrin, or the Tuesdays of Madame Helvetius.
Helvetius, Claude Adrien (1715-1771), French philosopher and litterateur, was born in Paris in January 1715.
He was descended from a family of physicians, whose original name was Schweitzer (latinized as Helvetius).
The mathematical dream seems to have produced nothing; his poetical ambitions resulted in the poem called Le Bonheur (published posthumously, with an account of Helvetius's life and works, by C. F.
Voltaire said that it was full of commonplaces, and that what was original was false or problematical; Rousseau declared that the very benevolence of the author gave the lie to his principles; Grimm thought that all the ideas in the book were borrowed from Diderot; according to Madame du Deffand, Helvetius had raised such a storm by saying openly what every one thought in secret; Madame de Graffigny averred that all the good things in the book had been picked up in her own salon.
In 1764 Helvetius visited England, and the next year, on the invitation of Frederick II., he went to Berlin, where the king paid him marked attention.
Robertson (Short History of Free Thought) points out, he had great influence upon Bentham, and C. Beccaria states that he himself was largely inspired by Helvetius in his attempt to modify penal laws.
There is a complete edition of the works of Helvetius, published at Paris, 1818.
Mostratos, Die Pcidagogik des Helvetius (Berlin, 1891); A.
Guillois, Le Salon de Madame Helvetius (1894); A.
Helvetius (Milan, 1889); G.
Helvetius (Verona, 1902); A.
Keim, Helvetius, sa vie et son oeuvre (1907).
It was from Helvetius that he learnt that, men being universally and solely governed by self-love, the so-called moral judgments are really the common judgments of any society as to its common interests; that it is therefore futile on the one hand to propose any standard of virtue, except that of conduciveness to general happiness, and on the other hand useless merely to lecture men on duty and scold them for vice; that the moralist's proper function is rather to exhibit the coincidence of virtue with private happiness; that, accordingly, though nature has bound men's interests together in many ways, and education by developing sympathy and the habit of mutual help may much extend the connexion, still the most effective moralist is the legislator, who by acting on self-love through legal sanctions may mould human conduct as he chooses.
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