Human Nature: Philosophical and Ethical Themes in Rameaus Nephew

Human Nature: Philosophical and Ethical Themes in Rameaus Nephew

Document details
Category: Philosophy Essay
Subcategory: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
Words: 1219
Pages: 2

The philosophical and ethical themes discussed in Rameaus Nephew, attempt to piece together the puzzles of human nature. One feature of the human experience debated is virtue. The idea of virtue, or living in a virtuous way, depends upon how one views pleasure. Rameaus bohemian lifestyle and outlook on life leads him to many self-indulgent pleasures. He portrays a loud voice that preaches about the animated, gypsy-like life he leads. The Philosopher, on the other hand, has a more humanitarian view of life, which is more conventional and morally based. The topic of virtue, in the novel, is preceded by a discussion over pleasure. Rameau protests that the selfish way is the better way, dont you think society would be great fun if everybody did what appealed to him, (p.66). He establishes that he is free of obligation, an idler, fool, and good-for-nothing, (p.68), with no responsibility of anything living from moment to moment. His comments contradict what the Philosopher believes of pleasure, which are at times self-indulgent for him, however, attempting to improve the human condition is also filled with pleasure. He speaks of drinking wine and laughing with friends as a form of pleasure. He then goes into a story of a man who found pleasure in giving to his family and points out that that would please him as well. Rameau explicitly mocks The Philosophers views. What funny you people you are, (p.67). The way the Philosopher portrays his beliefs of pleasure presents his hypocrisy in this section because he agrees with Rameau yet at the same time he does it in a way that proves a point that Rameau states in the following passage on virtue. People laud virtue, but they hate and avoid it, for it freezes you to death, and in this world you have to keep your feet warm. Besides it, it would inevitably make me ill tempered, for why do we so often see the virtuous...

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