Rousseau: 'The Discourses' and Other Early Political Writings

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Jul 13, 1997 - History - 437 pages
The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is presented in two volumes, which together form the most comprehensive anthology of Rousseau's political writings in English. Volume I contains the earlier writings such as the First and Second Discourses. The American and French Revolutions were profoundly affected by Rousseau's writing, thus illustrating the scope of his influence. Volume II contains the later writings such as the Social Contract. The Social Contract was publicly condemned on publication causing Rousseau to flee. In exile he wrote both autobiographical and political works. These volumes contain comprehensive introductions, chronologies, and guides to further reading, and will enable students to fully understand the writings of one of the world's greatest thinkers.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

IX
6
X
16
XI
29
XII
32
XIII
52
XIV
63
XV
86
XVII
92
XVIII
107
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page xlvii - I easily grant that civil government is the proper remedy for the inconveniences of the state of nature...

About the author (1997)

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.

Bibliographic information