Social Morality and Civil Society

  • Brian William Head
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idees/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 112)


Tracy’s identification of a kind of social instinct in man plays a large part in his account of how society and social progress are possible. But there remained critical problems, for both social theory and political practice, concerning how to reconcile individual and social interests. How was it possible to identify and counteract those desires and actions which are antisocial, or destructive of the liberty and happiness of one’s fellow citizens? To what extent could education, in the broadest sense, encourage certain kinds of desires and weaken or repress others?


Moral Education Social Morality Moral Sentiment Dishonest Behaviour Social Instinct 
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  1. 1.
    Tracy, “Memoire sur la faculte de penser”, p. 287; Louis de Bonald, Melanges (Paris, 1819), vol. II, pp. 311–319; B. Constant, Melanges (Paris, 1829), pp. 240–254; Condorcet, Selected Writings, ed. K.M. Baker (New York, 1976), pp. xxvii–xxviii of “Introduction”; C.H. Van Duzer, Contributions of the Ideologues, p. 95.Google Scholar
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    For a different kind of elitism among the philosophes, in which only the masses were held to require the moral discipline of religion, cf. R.I. Boss, “The development of social religion”, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 34 (1973), pp. 577–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1985

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  • Brian William Head

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