Guyau, Marie Jean

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Guyau, Marie Jean


Born Oct. 28, 1854, in Laval; died Mar. 31, 1888, in Menton. French positivist philosopher and advocate of utilitarianism. Professor at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris.

Guyau’s basic works deal with aesthetics, morality, and religion. He paid special attention to the social content of art, which he interpreted as a basically biological phenomenon. In his view, art is simultaneously the result of an excess of vital forces and an activity that requires intense labor (Tasks of Modern Aesthetics, 1884; Russian translation 1899; and Art From the Viewpoint of Sociology, 1889; Russian translation. 1891). Viewing mental phenomena in terms of their usefulness for biological functioning. Guyau characterized morality as necessary to ensuring the equilibrium of the vital forces. Guyau’s sociological views were of a petit bourgeois nature. He envisioned the society of the future as one in which there will be harmonious unity of mind. will, and emotions. In his view, as humanity evolves, traditional religious concepts will disappear (The Non-Religion of the Future. 1887; Russian translation. 1908). From an elitist standpoint. Guyau divided humanity into two types: the creators, who possess a higher “vital intensity.” and the passive masses.


In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch.. vols. 1–5. St. Petersburg. 1898–1901.


Radlov, E. L. “Printsipy filosofii Giuio.” Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia, 1894. no. 5.
Kril’, T. “Mysli Giuio o nravstvennosti i vospitanii.” Obrazovunie. 1896. no. 2–3. section 2.
Fouillée. A. La Morale, l’art, et la religion d’après Guyan. 4th ed. Paris. 1901.
Bergmann, E. Die Philosophie Gtiyaus. Leipzig. 1912.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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