The majority of thinkers at the turn of the 17th century were more concerned with the problems of human behaviour than with metaphysics, although the search for moral criteria often led them to formulate some kind of system, more or less coherent. Although for reasons of the influence he exerted, we have put Bossuet in the august company of Malebranche and Leibniz, he is really a case in point. His flights in the realm of systematic theology were mostly undertaken for practical ends: to bolster up the political regime, or to persuade his aristocratic readers that privilege entailed responsibility. He was not primarily concerned with definitions of justice for instance, but with its execution in the social framework of the day; thus the notions of honnêteté and bienséance have a very important part to play in his thinking, and the idea of fitness in the structure of things is an essential but secondary concept.


Moral Code Moral Criterion Transcendent Ideal Metaphysical Speculation Classical Pagan 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1975

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  • Sheila Mary Mason

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