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2035rousseau2

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Published on November 23, 2007

Author: Davidson

Source: authorstream.com

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau:  Jean-Jacques Rousseau Life and Works 1754-1778 Major Works 1754-1778:  Major Works 1754-1778 Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (1754) Emile (1762) On the Social Contract (1762) The Confessions (posthumous) Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (1754):  Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (1754) Written in response to another prize competition posted by the Academy of Dijon Rousseau’s description of writing it: “... wandering deep into the forest, I sought and I found the vision of those primitive times, the history of which I proudly traced. I demolished the petty lies of mankind; I dared to strip man’s nature naked .... The outcome of these researches was the Essay upon Inequality” (Confs., Bk 8). Significance of DOI:  Significance of DOI “All that is challenging in The Social Contract had previously appeared in the Essay on Inequality” (Confs. Bk 9). The great anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss has called Rousseau the ‘founder’ of anthropology; The conclusion anticipates Marx: “... a handful of people ... abound in superfluities while the starving multitude lacks in necessities” (CUP ed., 188). Scientific Context of DOI:  Scientific Context of DOI Mid-eighteenth century: evolutionary theory and related issues were being explored by La Mettrie, Linnaeus and Buffon (see ppt 22/01/03). They speculated on the relation of humans to other primates; Buffon extended the age of the earth by 70,000 years; Rousseau calls Buffon “one of those authorities that are respectable to Philosophers” (CUP ed., 189). Philosophical Context:  Philosophical Context Theories of the state of nature articulated by Hobbes and Locke served to support their respective political visions: Hobbes theorized a state he called ‘Leviathan’ with absolute power over its citizens as a preventive measure against civil war; Locke’s state was to serve the preservation of ‘life, liberty and property.’ Rousseau vs Locke and Hobbes:  Rousseau vs Locke and Hobbes Using the writings of Buffon, La Mettrie and others, Rousseau rejected the visions of both: He rejected Hobbes’s view that the state of nature was a state of war that forced people to accept an authoritarian state; He rejected Locke’s belief that property, unevenly distributed (Second Treatise, ¶50) should be the foundation of the state, since a relative equality is necessary to democracy. DOI: Rousseau’s Political Philosophy:  DOI: Rousseau’s Political Philosophy Rousseau instead proposed: That humans are naturally peaceable, not fierce; That they originally led isolated lives in the forest; They came together only out of necessity; Language emerges with great difficulty; society, dependent on language, therefore emerges with difficulty (a great contrast with Hobbes and Locke); The institution of property is the first act of civilization, destroys the state of nature, and lays the basis of the unjust relations of civil society. Questions on the DOI::  Questions on the DOI: 1. What kind of being is the savage? 2. What forces bring men into early society? What role does language play? 3. What role does property play in the development of society? 4. What is the difference between natural and social inequality?  5. Why is vanity (amour-propre) so important? 6. What is wrong with civil society? Geneva and ancient republics:  Geneva and ancient republics He praises these cities in the dedication of the DOI, thus revealing his political ideals: A state of great antiquity; Small in size; Citizens follow what the magistrates propose; Non-aggressive, but acts in own defense. Rousseau’s Ideal Cities: Paris versus Geneva:  Rousseau’s Ideal Cities: Paris versus Geneva Corrupt Unnatural Weak Citizens dominated by opinions of others Complex and large: officials, taxes, rules Display of wealth Lack of genuine relations among people Virtuous: people have time for the unfortunate, the Fatherland and their friends (DSA, p. 16) No theatre Defense of homeland Simplicity Small Non-aggressive Emile, a treatise on education (1762):  Emile, a treatise on education (1762) Platonic tradition: philosophy of education as preparation of citizens for civic life; Lockean Sensationalism: the child learns first about objective relations, natural laws and the skills of the craftsman (also Bacon and Diderot); Later the child studies theoretical matters such as the social contract; Rousseau is responding to teaching young children dead languages such as Greek and Latin, and abstract ideas that they cannot apply. On the Social Contract (1762):  On the Social Contract (1762) Exposition of the principle that men should determine their own fate in conformity with the common good, which Rousseau terms the ‘general will’; A controversial work that was condemned in Paris and publicly burned as seditious because it implicitly rejected the principle of the King’s rule by divine right; Controversial today for what some commentators believe is the authoritarianism of the principle of the general will. The Confessions :  The Confessions Rousseau’s first autobiographical work, in which he revealed his relations with many famous people such as Diderot; The opening lines set the stage: “I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent and which , once complete, will have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a portrait in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray will be myself.” “Whether nature did well or ill in breaking the mould in which she formed me, is a question which can only be resolved after the reading of my book.” He read it aloud to private gatherings, and it was published after his death (‘posthumously’); It is a major source for his view of his works and how they were received, although many scholars have raised questions about various details. Rousseau’s Life, 1762-1778:  Rousseau’s Life, 1762-1778 Rousseau fled France in 1762 due the condemnation of Emile and the Social Contract; He took refuge in Switzerland, where he started learning botany, as a nourishment for the soul; He cultivated a European-wide network of scientific correspondence and worked on dictionaries of music and botany that sought to improve those sciences through clarification of terminology; In 1767 he returned to France, where he died on 2 July1778. Rousseau Botanizing:  Rousseau Botanizing

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