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The Philosopher: Rousseau

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University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

The Philosopher: Rousseau J.J. Rousseau (1712 78) Emile (1762) The Social Contract (1762) - Books are important, the Social Contract as a response to Locke - Rousseau was influential in the contraction of the new western society - Different from Voltaire, he did not offer and solutions to problems - Montesquieu one of the more influential writers of the Enlightenment, highly elitist, rational world, member of the elite where their rights and privileges would be sustained, in order to build a new society in which old elites could still function o Moderate writers, going back to a more organic order, moderation does not equal revolution - Build upon the ideas of others, but he reached conclusions which others could not imagine - The social contract inspired the Revolution, was it the founding document of the totalitarianism or liberalism? - Rousseau: revolutionary nature was a journalism - Man in born free, but everywhere he is in chains started a conversation which lasted and progressed even after Marx - Rousseau you are what you write, in order to understand the social contract we need to understand Rousseau, he was very unhappy, attributed his unhappiness to the corrupt society which assigned him to world which he did not like, had psychological problems o Received good education, his father read him classical works o Geneva last encountered with John Calvin, Calvin was the ultimate law maker, part of the lurking memory which Rousseau wrote with o Mother died when he was born, he had a bizarre personal life, had rich, older mistresses and was married to an old washed women who borne him 5 children, which were all given way o He was paranoid and eventually alienated all of this friends and supporters o His father was exiled and he was left as an apprentice to an engraver o His esthetic sense was very important and came as a consequence of the being an apprentice
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