Talk:Claude Adrien Helvétius
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Article does not touch Helvétius
the article does little service to Helvétius, either his philosophy / saying or his influence.
try these quotes on for size, especially, if you're in the US, in light of our current political environment:
To be virtuous it is necessary to unite nobleness of soul with an enlightened understanding. Whoever combines these gifts conducts himself by the compass of public utility. The utility is the principle of all human virtues, and the foundation of all legislation . . . All laws should follow a single principle, the utility of the public - i.e., of the greatest number of the persons under the same government . . . This principle contains all morality and legislation.
most nations morality is now nothing more than a collection of the ... precepts dictated by the powerful to secure their authority and to be unjust with impunity.
An honest man will always obey his reason in preference to revelation; for it is, he will say, more certain that God is the author of human reason ... than that he is the author of a particular book.
[Religious] Toleration subjects the priests to the princes; intolerance subjects the prince to the priests.
In every religion the first objective of the priests is to stifle the curiosity of men, to prevent the examination of every dogma whose absurdity is to palpable to the concealed. ... Man is born ignorant, but he is not born a fool; and it is not without labor that he is made one. That he should be made such, and be able to extinguish in himself his natural light, much art and method must be employed; instruction must heap upon him error upon error.... There is nothing which the sacerdotal power cannot execute by the aid of superstition. For by that it robs the magistrates of their authority and kings of their legitimate power; thereby it subdues the people, and acquires a power over them which is frequently superior to the laws; and thereby if finally corrupts the very principles of morality.
-- all of these quotes are from Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization (vol 9 ch 21). he gives a much better feel for his weight and influence.
I've rewritten and reworked large parts of this article, and believe it is much improved. Please discuss any comments with me here before making drastic changes. -- Palthrow (talk) 16:26, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I would like to add more detail to this article (to build on the statements I have now added a reference to). I hope you do not mind? I think Helvétius is understated and not given his due. I have no bias; I neither dislike or like Helvétius, but I find his life story fascinating and have read a huge amount about him. (Rohanselfqueen (talk) 17:18, 22 November 2009 (UTC))
- By all means -- the article could be much improved. -- Palthrow (talk) 22:39, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Month of birth uncertain
Many reference works give the date of birth as 26 January 1715, but some agree with the Wikipedia article and give 26 February. I have not amended the article because I do not have conclusive evidence. If anyone does have, could they record it here and, if appropriate, amend the article. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 19:37, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
According to the article, Helvétius spent the final years of his life in his "county estate". What do those two words mean in English? Is this the same as a "counrty house" (a large house in the countryside, like a villa) or could it also be a luxurious house inside a city? Because Helvétius died in Paris, I suppose the latter is correct, but I'm not sure. I can't find any dictionary definitions of "county estate" and, as a non-native speaker of English, I don't know how to correctly translate this into a Dutch word. Can anyone help? Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 02:54, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
- It should probably read "country estate", county estate isn't a term that is used in English, to the best of my knowledge. Wrt Helvétius dying in Paris, maybe the article is simply wrong? -- Palthrow
Was Helvétius an Atheist?
I don't understand how people can call Helvétius an Atheist. This is only propaganda. In all his writings he never deny the existence of a Supreme Being: on the contrary he defends the existence of Him (e.g. cfr. his work "Le Progrès de la Raison dans la recherche du Vrai", in Oeuvres complètes d'Helvétius, Paris, 1818, vol. 3, p. 325 ss., but also his main works, like e.g. De l'Homme). Certainly he was neither a Christian, nor properly a Theist. He was a materialist and a deist free-thinker inclined to pantheism, not very different from Toland in his metaphysical ideas; but he wasn't an Atheist. --Lord Horatio Nelson (talk) 14:22, 25 May 2012 (UTC)