Amour-propre (French, "self-love") is a concept in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau that esteem depends upon the opinion of others. Rousseau contrasts it with amour de soi, which also means "self-love", but which does not involve seeing oneself as others see one. According to Rousseau, amour de soi is more primitive and is compatible with wholeness and happiness, while amour-propre is an unnatural form of self-love that arose only with the appearance of society and individuals' consequent ability to compare themselves with one another. Rousseau thought that amour-propre was subject to corruption, thereby causing vice and misery.
The term amour-propre predates Rousseau and is found in the writings of Blaise Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, Pierre Nicole and many others. For Pascal, Christianity was the only true remedy to this wretched state of man known as amour-propre, which for him is a direct consequence of the Fall, and in his writings the term generally refers to man's desire to satisfy his own needs and desires.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712—1778) Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- L'amour-propre at Everything2.com
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