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Word Count: 1,219
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 p66 He establishes that he is free of obligation an idler fool and good-for-nothing p68 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 p67 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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