Ideas of Denis Diderot, by Theme

[French, 1713 - 1784, Born at Langres.]

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22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
There are two sides to men - the pleasantly social, and the violent and creative
     Full Idea: Diderot is among the first to preach that there are two men: the artificial man, who belongs in society and seeks to please, and the violent, bold, criminal instinct of a man who wishes to break out (and, if controlled, is responsible for works of genius.
     From: report of Denis Diderot (works [1769], Ch.3) by Isaiah Berlin - The Roots of Romanticism
     A reaction: This has an obvious ancestor in Plato's picture (esp. in 'Phaedrus') of the two conflicting sides to the psuché, which seem to be reason and emotion. In Diderot, though, the suppressed man has virtues, which Plato would deny.