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Système Social, Système Social,
Système Social,
[HOLBACH, Paul Henri Thiry, baron d'.]

Système Social...

ou principes naturels de la morale et de la politique. De l'influence du gouvernement sur les mœurs.

Availability: In stock

Published: Paris chez Serviere, 1795

Stock Code: 113008

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


Early edition of the atheist and materialist philosopher's treatise in which he develops his concept of "ethocracy", or a just state whose main purpose is the general welfare. Holbach's theory of ethocracy "is presented in several works published during the 1770's, La politique naturelle (Natural Politics, 1773), Système social (The Social System, 1773), La morale universelle (Universal Morality, 1776), and Ethocratie (Ethocracy, 1776). Holbach's foundational view is that the most valuable thing a person seeking self-preservation can do is to unite with another person: 'Man is of all beings the most necessary to man' (Système social, 76; cf. Spinoza's Ethics IVP35C1, C2, and S). Society, when it is just, unites for the common purpose of preservation and the securing of welfare, and society contracts with government for this purpose" (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy). Originally published in Amsterdam in 1773 with a false London imprint.

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2 volumes, octavo (196 x 120 mm). Contemporary tree calf, red and green morocco labels, smooth spines elaborately tooled in gilt, all edges speckled red, marbled endpapers.


Small annotation in contemporary hand to half-title of Volume 1, neat repair to fore edge of half-title and leaf N4 of Volume 2. Three or four tiny insect punctures to spine and rear joint of Volume 1, small production flaw losses to bottom margins of leaves H3, I3, N3, Q and Y2 of Volume 1, not affecting text, tiny hole to leaf O affecting a few letters. An excellent set with bright contents.


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