Avoiding the Extirpation of Amour-Proper

It is wonderful to so see Rosseau and Neuhouser profess love, friendship, and affirmation (from others) more directly. It is refreshing, and a great breath of fresh air. In regards to the title, this is an avoiding rather than an adverting. And now onto the passage:

According to this line of thought, even if it were possible to extirpate amour-propre from the human soul, doing so would be undesirable because the passion to acquire standing in the eyes of others is responsible for much of the richness of human existence; without amour-propre, a large part of what gives human lives meaning and value would be lost. Even if stamping out amour-propre succeeded in eliminating human misery, conflict, and degradation, it would also abolish, along with them, the basis for countless irreplaceable goods, such as love, friendship, and affirmation from others. Rousseau’s acute perception of the dangers posed by amour-propre does not prevent him from seeing just as clearly that there would be little to give human existence zest and urgency without the projects and relationships that amour-propre induces us to pursue.

(Neuhouser, 2008, p. 201; emphasis added)


Neuhouser, F. (2008). Rousseau’s theodicy of self-love: Evil, rationality, and the drive for recognition. Oxford University Press.