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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,943 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Our inner conflicts are caused by these contradictions. Drawn this way by nature and that way by man, compelled to yield to both forces, we make a compromise and reach neither goal. We go through life, struggling and hesitating, and die before we have found peace, useless alike to ourselves and to others.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1762)
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I recently read Durant’s The Story of Philosophy. In that he said that it was a pity that philosophy had become quite so obsessed with epistemology (worrying about how we think) rather than ethics (worrying about how we can live a good life). Durant saw a time in the not too distant future when philosophy would get over epistemology and become once more a kind of thinking persons self-help club. In many ways this book is a version of ‘how to live a good life’ – no, better, how to educate people...more
في البدء أحب أن أذكر أن جان جاك روسو قد عمل مرة في حياته مربياً لطفل من طبقة النبلاء ولكن التجربة لم تستمر وباءت بالفشل، وأيضاً كان قد تخلى أن أبناءة الخمسة فور ولادتهم للملاجئ بدون أن يترك علامة أو دليل يُمَكِّنه من الرجوع لهم يوماً ما، فلم يستطع أحد معرفة مصيرهم ... فأغلب المتتبعين لحياته يعتقدون أن هذا الكتاب كان نوعاً من التكفير عن الذنب لتخليه عن دوره كأب أو محاولة لتدوين أفضل أسلوب للتربية بعد تحليله لفشل تجربته كمربي ... ولمن أراد أن يعرف أكثر عن حياته أنصحه بقراءة اعترافاته "اعترافات جا...more
John Warner
Aug 26, 2007 John Warner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: careful readers
Shelves: favoritebooks
this book is difficult to understand and hence easy to dismiss. many of the other reviews bear witness to this in the most immediate way. emile is not an instructional manual on how to educate a child, nor is it a misogynistic tract that insists on the inferiority of women. these suggestions fail to engage this work precisely where it becomes interesting.

Emile is, and was intended to be, the modern equivalent to Plato's Republic. It is a synoptic book, a sustained, comprehensive, and unified ref...more
How is it that the same book can at one and the same time be so fascinating and so wrong-headed? The author of Emile indicates that to bring up a child, the parent must be a lifelong tutor -- to the exclusion of any schools or spouses or relatives or anyone else. Rousseau deals with a fictional son named Emile. During the course of the book, he shows his influence from infancy to early marriage.

Perhaps such a controlling type of mentorship was possible only in a rural society; and Rousseau not o...more
Kathryn Cantrell
Jul 19, 2007 Kathryn Cantrell rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mysoginists?
Please read the last chapter first. If you can accept Rousseau at his most offensive, then maybe you should continue with the rest of the book. Personally, I'm enough of a feminist that I cannot stand this work. I have heard too much praise for this work by so many who haven't finished it (i.e. read Rousseau's treatment of Sophie) that I will refuse to discuss it altogether.

If you're of the "but, gender issues aside" persuasion, you should consider that at the time, there was enough feminist per...more
Reading this tome was an equally delightful and discomforting one, as a lover of literature, great ideas, and feminist egalitarianism. On one hand, it is obvious that Rousseau was a true visionary (and a master of language). I am truly in awe of what he is trying to accomplish here. As a philosophical exercise of incredible scope, Emile is incredible. I couldn't help but ask myself, "Where are the visionaries of today?"

In another sense, though, it is certainly difficult to swallow Rousseau's mis...more
If being an uneducated, ignorant, house-slave who lives to serve her lord and masters (aka her husband and children) comes so naturally to women, then why does Rousseau keep insisting that women need to be taught and indoctrinated with this "natural desire"?

While I am by no means a Betty Friedan or Mary Wollstonecraft, I found my stomach turning while reading this errant piece of sexist propaganda and I have a strong urge to burn this book!
Marwa Assem Salama
أما الشئ اللآخذ باللُب بحق فهو أني نسيت بمرور السطور والوقت غايتي التي من أجلها قرأته.....فلقد سلب مني مجامع القلب صدق الطريقة التي استولد بها من رحم الخيال طفله، (إميل) !!..فدليل الحاجة عندي عين الخيال... وإلا فيم ياتُرى يرى الرحّال قريح الحلق بين الصحاري نبع السراب ؟؟....ولئن أخطئتم فحاسبتم (روسو) على هذا الكتاب مرةً كمفكرٍ، فيلسوفٍ، يقظ العقل ....فحاولوا أن تنصتوا إليه أخرى كرجلٍ وحيدٍ حالمٍ ...من فوق هذي السطور يئن : (وإني بهذه السن ..أحوج ما أكون إلى طفل) ...فبمثل ذلك فقط أصبت كبد الكتاب!!....more
If only there was room in his world for little girls to be educated...
Deborah Markus
I read this book as research for a writing project of my own. Once finished, I had no idea how I ought to rate it.

There is some brilliant writing here, and I highlighted some eminently quotable passages. Certainly I can now understand why the French adore some of Rousseau's ideas about education.

But even if one can get past the irony of Rousseau the child-abandoner writing (in very smug tones!) how the young ought to be raised and educated, there's the little fact that he was sexist above and...more
Absurdly, I am indebted, deeply indebted to this book. It was Rousseau's discussion of the feel of sensitized spaces between the surface of the skin and objects, like walls, when you are blind or have your eyes closed. I barely recalled it but the notion he expressed allowed me to learn to live without heat during the winter. All that has to be done is to attend to the sensitive area, the skin surface, the sharp aching; although it is alarming, it is also a superficial sensation. Pure surface, s...more
Rousseau had some very strange ideas about how to raise children, and how to teach them things. Wrapping kids in swaddling, controlling every aspect of their environment for an age, and then allowing them to learn through failure. This last was my favorite philosophy, one in which, unlike the children of today, he promoted that children be allowed to hurt themselves when they were at the right age, in order that they should learn how not to do stupid things. When I look at the lame, short, plast...more
Nosherwan Yasin
There are maybe 7 people in the world who understand this treatise on education, I don't think I am one of them yet.
I recognize that this is a classic of Rousseau literature and in many ways it's not bad for its time. But it is very hard for me to swallow, knowing how philosophy has advanced and having had the benefit of Plato's works, which Rousseau may not have had full liberty to, given when Plato was dug up. He is SO held within the structure of his time, which can be seen throughout in his biases and his assumptions on class, race, and gender. Painful to swallow if you are not in the majority on any of t...more
A deceptively simple text. Rousseau has distanced himself from the Social Contract and the concept of the noble savage here, and has decided to illustrate the principles of an education that will bring about `natural man.' Emile is his guinea pig, whom he allows to grow on his own accord. His governor and nurse impose nothing on him, and he is allowed to build and explore without any external authority, eventually choosing a vocation and place in society.

For Rousseau, the most important propert...more
If we want to produce a good man, how would we go about it? That's the problem that Rousseau presents himself in Emile.

In this lengthy work, no aspect of upbringing is overlooked. Starting with the health of the mother before she gives birth, we follow the course of a boy's life as he becomes a man and marries - all under the tutelage of Rousseau.

The basis of the upbringing is refreshing: a child must be allowed to follow his natural inclinations and do so in a natural setting away from the soci...more
A society is composed of citizens. If you want a strong and virtuous society, you must start at ground zero; with the citizen, with the child. This book by Rousseau is, in my mind, his epic masterpiece(notice I say his masterpiece, not necessarily a philosophic masterpiece, though that argument could be made, I think). This work is an amalgamation of all his best ideas, presented by way of a young boy named Emile. If you could raise a child the 'right way', Rousseau's way, you would have a nat...more
For the most part, Rousseau kept me interested by his language (which he uses very thoughtfully and precisely) and by his extreme ideas and scenarios of a child's education/tutorship. Rousseau shows his creativity by analyzing everything down to the smallest detail and this perspective gave me enough lessons to learn.
The part I did not care much for was his last chapter on Sophie--which is a great name for an ideal woman, but she does not live up to her name of wisdom when it comes to her "role...more
Well, where to begin?

The first thing that strikes me about the book is its length: this is LONG stuff. I was more inclined to like it at the beginning, but as it goes on the "narrative" element, given in such detail, becomes harder and harder to swallow. It doesn't sound like Rousseau lives in the real world. His Emile is a passive object, micro-managed without any failures or defeats, but when he develops a personality, he is flat and stale and unprofitable; all the worst bits of Quintilian com...more
Blegh. Just Blegh. Not a fan of Rousseau. When it comes to 17th-18th century philosophers, it's all about John Locke. He is a much more concise and interesting author in my opinion. I blame Rousseau's Frenchness. Lol. Also, the children who were raised according to Rousseau's mandates for Emile turned out horribly. Go figure.
Musi Kilic
This book is dripping with outdated sexism, but that aside I agree with many of Rousseau's arguments. The main points I agreed with are: freedom, happiness, necessity and experience. Simply put Emile is supposed to grow up free, unspoiled, and learn through everyday events no just in a classroom.
Sıla Önder
Alright, I may be biased because I regard Rousseau as my chief inspiration (I could build a temple for him and be the high priestess of Rousseauism) but I think it's cruel to cut off everything else he had to say about very important issues such as what is good and what virtue is, politics and governance, and how we should educate children (well, male children) by saying that he was a narrow minded sexist.
Being a bigot means that having problems with progress. One who is a bigot is the one who...more
Lauren Albert
I can't be fair to this book since I dislike Rousseau so intensely. Anyone who has read about him and his life will understand. But I don't agree with his educational philosophy and I don't like when fiction is used solely to hammer in someone's philosophy
I read this book as a parent (so not as a fictional philosophical book, but more as a guide book to raising children). There are some wonderful insights (for example letting children be children, not push them into being successful little adults; however I think it is unwise to stop a child when he/she is interested; learning through experience not by reading books etc.). But there are also many things that are hard to accept, the education of girls for example (women in general are “second-rate...more
Émile, or On Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) is a difficult book to read. For a start, it’s quite long at 500+ pages, and it’s a task made more challenging because in amongst his insights for which he is lionised, Rousseau had some very odd ideas which I suspect may make many readers abandon him in dismay. You can get a glimpse of how I felt about Rousseau’s attitudes to women from my recent snippet and yes, tested well beyond the limits of my patience, I nearly abandoned this boo...more
966. Émile; or, On Education, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
امیل: رساله‌ای در باب آموزش و پرورش - ژان ژاک روسو (ناهید) ادبیات فرانسه
Alex Milledge
I am delighted that I read a treatise on child development in my course of reading, and having it written by the flamboyant, precocious womanizing Rousseau.

I agreed with him although his views on god and religion are bipolar. I think he accepts the idea of god, but hated organized religion.

Towards the end he often deviates from child development into his own personal philosophy, but then ends on the development of females and marriage.

Rousseau is the man, and I give four stars because he is qu...more
Laura Gilfillan
A treatise on how to tutor a child; a boy, of course, girls are different. He discussed the different stages a child would go through, and what instruction would be appropriate for each stage. The author had made some astute observations of how children develop, and that they are not ready for reason until old enough. I see the roots of much current educational thought in a lot of what he had to say, although I thought not letting him read until he was well into his teens was a bit extreme. I al...more
Leandra Cate
I read this book many years ago in French lit and felt it to be full of profound new thoughts. I recently realized I had never read it in translation and got an English copy. My translation seems to be very bad - a 19th century translation I got cheap. I don't recommend the prometheus books 'great books in philosophy' series at all. With much of Rousseau's charming language lost, the awkwardness of his points is more evident. Still, it's almost creepy that two such dissimilar people (me and Rous...more
Henrique Maia
A Huge "Thought Experiment"

Rousseau wants to reform the state of the decadent human institutions of his time. And what best place to start with than by educating people to be good citizens? So the philosopher conceives of a thought experiment where he plays the role of a tutor for more than 20 years of a young scholar named Emile. It's through this experience that we start to grasp the scope of his criticisms, and the way he wants to prepare people for the coming of a new order.

Throughout the t...more
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Philosophy: Education 16 51 Feb 12, 2013 10:22AM  
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains an important figure in the history of philosophy, both because of his contributions to political philosophy and moral psychology and because of his influence on later thinkers. Rousseau's own view of philosophy and philosophers was firmly negative, seeing philosophers as the post-hoc rationalizers of self-interest, as apologists for various forms of tyranny, and as pl...more
More about Jean-Jacques Rousseau...
The Social Contract Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Confessions (World's Classics) The Basic Political Writings Reveries of the Solitary Walker

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“I would rather be a man of paradoxes than a man of prejudices.” 127 likes
“إن ضعف الإنسان هو الذي يجعله إجتماعياً.وعناصر الشقاء المشتركة بيننا هي التي تدفع قلوبنا الى الإنسانية. فما كنا لنحس أننا مدينون للإنسانية بشيء لو لم نكن بشراً” 23 likes
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