The Social Contract and The Discourses

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Oct 26, 1993 - Philosophy - 409 pages
9 Reviews
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Two works in one volume

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the first, and the most eloquent and versatile, of that extraordinary line of radical modern thinkers who aimed their disenchantment at the very roots of the human social order and thereby forever reshaped the way we deal with one another. Of Rousseauís many contributions to the tradition he inaugurated, the one for which he is most revered and that makes these pages glow with conviction is his passionate indignation about anything that trammels individual freedom.

This revised edition of G. D. H. Coleís celebrated translation includes an appendix of sections from the first manuscript draft of The Social Contract and the passage in Rousseauís novel …mile in which he summarizes its argument, along with Coleís original preface, which has itself become a classic.

Translated by G. D. H. Cole
Revised and augmented by J. H. Brumfitt and John C. Hall

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Review: The Social Contract and Discourses

User Review  - Cody Paris - Goodreads

Busy two weeks, finally had a bit of time to read last night to finish this classic. Timeless insights on the relationship between government, representatives, and the people. Read full review

Review: The Social Contract and Discourses

User Review  - Blair - Goodreads

One of the pillars of European democratic philosophy. It's opening: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains." To me, if Rousseau contributed to our current culture, it wasn't just in ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
Notes
A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences
1
Copyright

42 other sections not shown

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About the author (1993)

Jean Jacques Rousseau was a Swiss philosopher and political theorist who lived much of his life in France. Many reference books describe him as French, but he generally added "Citizen of Geneva" whenever he signed his name. He presented his theory of education in Emile (1762), a novel, the first book to link the educational process to a scientific understanding of children; Rousseau is thus regarded as the precursor, if not the founder, of child psychology. "The greatest good is not authority, but liberty," he wrote, and in The Social Contract (1762) Rousseau moved from a study of the individual to an analysis of the relationship of the individual to the state: "The art of politics consists of making each citizen extremely dependent upon the polis in order to free him from dependence upon other citizens." This doctrine of sovereignty, the absolute supremacy of the state over its members, has led many to accuse Rousseau of opening the doors to despotism, collectivism, and totalitarianism. Others say that this is the opposite of Rousseau's intent, that the surrender of rights is only apparent, and that in the end individuals retain the rights that they appear to have given up. In effect, these Rousseau supporters say, the social contract is designed to secure or to restore to individuals in the state of civilization the equivalent of the rights they enjoyed in the state of nature. Rousseau was a passionate man who lived in passionate times, and he still stirs passion in those who write about him today.

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