The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Helvetius, Claude Adrien (1715–1771)

  • J. Wolff
Reference work entry


There are, for Helvetius, a certain number of fundamental points: the individual is led, spontaneously, to seek pleasure and to avoid pain, and this engenders self-esteem; having realized what his needs are, the search for objects able to satisfy them determines his behaviour; personal interest governs his decisions, and these vary as interests do according to individuals, the social environment and the era; education, custom and environment form the whole man; men would be equally happy if they could fill all the different moments of their lives agreeably.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wolff
    • 1
  1. 1.