Besides providing a psychological basis for the exercise of virtue, amour-propre also helps to cultivate pity.
Amour-propre also has moral uses in people who lack Emile's integrity and naturalness.
To protect the unfortunate young fellow from this moral death to which he was so near, the priest began by awakening amour-propre and self-esteem in him.
The vicar used amour-propre to combat self-contempt in the young Rousseau and awaken in him a pride which demanded that he have integrity if he wished to maintain a good opinion of himself.
Nor are amour-propre's moral contributions limited to nay-saying virtue, or to fighting moral disease.
Only while it was amour-propre did Rousseau's self-love lead him to raise his hand against injustice.
Cato, Rousseau's exemplary citizen, was the embodiment of the finest kind of amour-propre. Socrates, by contrast, though not as free of amour-propre as Jean-Jacques would later be, was still free of its grip to a remarkable degree.(19) Both men found themselves living under tyranny, but they responded entirely differently.
Understanding that the psychological seat of virtue and moral passion is amour-propre - more specifically, pride - Rousseau advises those who hope to achieve good republican government to encourage pride.
None of this is to say that the benefits of amour-propre have outweighed the devastation it has wrought.
Just as Rousseau divides self-love into amour de soi and amour-propre, so he divides amour-propre itself - into pride and vanity.
Beginning with the First Discourse, all of Rousseau's writings reflect a subtle consciousness of amour-propre's moral ambiguity.
Some have argued that Rousseau offers no clear and workable distinction between the two forms of amour-propre.(27) Certainly he never does so in a thorough and systematic way.