Francesco Toto

«Les Malheurs de la Vertu». Lust and/or Morality in Sade

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Sade, Ethics, Pleasure, Cruelty, Utopia

The article focuses on some ambivalences in Sade’s philosophy. At first, it shows how the philosopher conceives of cruelty both as a complication of the physiology of pleasure consistent with a radical indifference to one’s neighbor and as an enjoyment that realizes a kind of moral relationship with one’s neighbor. Second, it highlights how Sade on the one hand consigns man to radical innocence, but on the other reintroduces an unrealizable notion of duty. The article concludes by hinting at the political background of these indeterminacies, that is, by emphasizing Sade’s oscillation between a universalistic and democratic utopia and an elitist and repressive one.

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