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Rousseau 20 September 2012.docx

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Political Science
Simone Chambers

POL320 – 20 September 2012 Reading: Rousseau – Discourse on Inequality - The theme of this semester will be the enlightenment and the next will be the age of reason o Reaction of age of reason was romanticism - Rousseau’s biography o Had very meager beginnings o No formal education o Runs away at 16 o Moves to Italy and converts to Catholicism – converted many different times which got him in some trouble o First job was as a footman in a powerful house who recognized his brilliance o This aristocrat became a patron and supported him o Moved from household to household, being supported as a patron o First love was music  Early in life, his first accomplishment was to design an entirely new musically notation  Moved to Paris to sell the notation  Becomes a music critic within the enlightenment thinkers  Rejected the feudalist regime in France like enlightenment thinkers o Very difficult person  Wrote a biography called Confessions  Appeared to suffer from paranoia which worsened with age  Interfered with his intellectual life o Got into trouble for what he wrote  In one piece someone expresses a deist view which was burned o Left France and went to England  Lived with hume o By the end of his life he’s quite improvised and supports himself by copying music and living in an attic o Died under mysterious circumstances; some believe that it was a suicide o His own worst enemy  Wrote a book on education: about the shaping of character and education that was well received o Had relationships with very powerful aristocratic women; some romantic, some sexual, and some just based on business - For romantics the alps were an inspiration o While the enlightenment thinkers thought of the alps and mountains and nature in general as something to be conquered - The Two Rousseau’s 1. Authenticity has been treated, perhaps destroyed by progress. – Romantic theme of the “Discourse on Inequality” 2. Reason tells us that we are fundamentally free and that consent is the only basis of legitimate political rule. – Enlightenment theme of On the Social Contract  Music in an intellectual activity which challenges the mind to find order in chaos  Rousseau argued that melody made music great  Melody that speaks to the true humanity; what we truly are at heart, is heart, not mind  Believes that women should have a traditional role however at the time of writing the story (About the aristocrat and tutor) women believed he was the only one that understood their strife - Authenticity  Social forces inhibit us from being ourselves; create inauthentic beings  “Know thyself” was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, “Be thyself” shall be written. – Oscar Wilde - Discourse on the Origins and Foundation of Inequality  Genre/Method  Discourses  Has the progression of science contributed to the progression or corruption of humankind – he argued corrupted o Science was leading to luxury which was making us soft o Most popular argument: Civilization brings with it a calming of the passions and how you do that is through the institution of manners  Its like we’re interacting without touches each others – all these forms of manners that stand between people  Predisposed to act that is determined by your social situation where nothing is authentic  The higher up in the social ladder you go; the less authentic it gets  He was very emotional and exuberant  Manners control our authenticity  Doesn’t offer an alternative or full philosophy  Second discourses were more controversial since it did go further – went from criticizing social life to a devastating attack on it’s politics and society and Europe in general  That’s when enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire realized that he wasn’t one of them  1 Discourse  Discussed above under ‘discourses’  2 Discourse  Writes about the origin of society rather than just inequality  Conjectural History  Calls it conjectural history: not the truth, not describing what actually happens o “The investigation that may be undertaken concerning this subject should not be taken for historical truths…” o This kind of history is at the core of Hegel’s idea and Marx’s – becomes popular in general o Subject is human identity, character, consciousness and how that character has changed – doesn’t care about specific facts  Hu
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