The philosophy of Sade: Sex, Morality and Evil

Father of sadism, writer and philosopher, the Marquis de Sade is a mythological figure of the French literature.

Advocating a moral subversion, atheism and the overthrow of the table values, Sade emerges as a free thinker. Imprisoned nearly half his life (28 years!), He wrote extensively for establishing an order antisocial. His major works are:

– Justine or the Misfortunes of Virtue

– Philosophy in the Bedroom

– The 120 Days of Sodom

– The Crimes of Love

Sade, God and the question of evil

If atheism is the “system of all the people who know how to reason,” then man is alone in the universe. But Sade made this solitude a source of freedom. The evil no longer exists. The man is the sole judge of what is right or wrong.

“When a man engages in murder, it’s a natural impulse that drives him, the man who destroyed his is similar to nature as what it pestilence and famine”

The murder is not wrong in Sade’s view of nature. The natural man beyond the conventions, lives according to rules pre-social. Even from a social perspective, crime is legitimate: “The pride of the Republican takes some ferocity, it softens, if its energy is lost, it will soon be overwhelmed.” The murder has even replace the death penalty. Regulation of the passions must be left to nature. In this, Sade is anti-statist.


Man and society in Sade’s Philosophy

Sade’s philosophy on man is clear. The man according to Sade is not the kantian and moral man, he does not sacrifice himself, he does not pursue the public good, he acts following a cold calculation about what can be provided by others or situations: “You should calculate things by the relationship they have with your interest. ”

Sade also defends the idea of ​​a lack of identity among men. Everyone, he says, is unique and driven by its own nature, we can not ask them to act the same way. Resulting moral relativism, based on a differentiated conception of man.

“I wonder if it is just the law that directs those who have nothing to respect the one who has it all: what will the two go to another”

Society dreamed of Sade is a society of animality, lawless and violent in which people are everything. Nothing should curb their passions.

Into the language, man must brave the forbidden, to a culture of blasphemy:

“It is essential to pronounce the words loud or dirty, in the intoxication of pleasure, and those of blasphemy are good for your imagination. There is nothing spare; we must adorn the words of the greatest luxury of expressions; they must scandalize as much as possible, because it’s very sweet of shocking: There is a small triumph for the pride which is not to be despised”

Sade’s philosophy is a philosophy of the superego released. The eroticism and violence are merely expressions of his conception of subjectivity based on pleasure and a return to the state of nature. Basically, Sade is a philosopher of freedom, in its most extreme meaning.

Cite this article as: Tim, "The philosophy of Sade: Sex, Morality and Evil, April 3, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 3, 2012,

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