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Nenhouser's focus on amour-propre allows him to smoothly bring unity to the whole or at least most of Rousseau's multi-faceted oeuvre: The Social Contract and Emile can then be understood as distinct moments of the solution to the problem of curbing the effects of the rampant amour-propre induced by the social arrangements of modern civil society.
In Chapter 3, a fine-grained analysis is offered of the varieties of "inflamed amour-propre" and a very interesting discussion can be found of what a non-pathological, non inflamed form of amour-propre, still consistent with the overall Rousseauian framework, could look like.
The only passion natural to man is amour de soi[-meme] (57) or amour-propre taken in an extended sense.
To avoid doing harm to another, and to avoid falling prey to amour-propre, Rousseau would isolate the child from family, from society, and from tradition.
Out of many points one could pursue further I shall just comment a little on O'Hagan's treatment of amour-propre in chapter 7.
Such is the portrait of amour-propre, whose whole life is one great long agitation: it may be likened unto the sea, the continual ebb and flow of whose waves is a faithful image of its turbulent succession of thoughts and restless movements.
But, anyone who has observed close up the operation of the cognitive arm of amour-propre, that is to say self-deception, will not lightly dismiss La Rochefoucauld's words.
Her claim that amour-propre, will, and power, necessarily "mediated" by our encounters with the world, are the constitutive dynamics of the Rousseauian self is more than plausible.
This development confronts, however, the central problem of amour-propre: Although it necessarily transforms the "fundamental needs" experienced by civilized human beings, amour-propre always threatens to destroy any harmonious development of self-love guided by the conscience.
Amour-propre and amour de soi, two passions very different in their nature and their effects, must not be confused.
Amour-propre is only a relative sentiment, artificial and born in society, which inclines each individual to have a greater esteem for himself than for anyone else, inspires in men all the harm they do to one another, and is the true source of honor.
Cooper argues that Emile's education for Sophie (and hers for him) tames amour-propre through their mutual affection and mutual recognition.