The Social Contract / Discourse on Political Economy (Oxford World's Classics)
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The Social Contract / Discourse on Political Economy (Oxford World's Classics)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Revolutionary in its own time and controversial to this day, this work is a permanent classic of political theory and a key source of democratic belief. Rousseau's concepts of "the general will" as a mode of self-interest uniting for a common good, and the submission of the individual to government by contract inform the heart of democracy, and stand as its most contentiou...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1762)
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Churchill has been quoted as saying that if you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart and if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brains. Rousseau seems to go through a similar transition. The rebellious love of the noble savage seen in his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences and Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality fades between their publication in early 1750 and the publication of The Social Contract in 1762. His expressions of unconditional love morph into an examinatio...more
I had never read The Social Contract, but I knew the one-minute summary of it and knew the effect that it had on the radical French revolutionaries like Robespierre who carried out the Terror. It was good to see his whole argument.

Christopher Betts’ edition also includes Rousseau’s Discourse on Political Economy, a contribution to Denis Diderot’s Encyclopedia. It was good to read this first and get an understanding of earlier development of his thought, including the early development of his fam...more
I really like Rousseau. The Political Economy was better than the Social Contract. The latter seemed a little too reserved in tone and was trying to cover a bit too much.
I read this one for university and as a first reading of it, this was a very shallow read. I really like Rousseau, and warmed to him instantly and I think, although it is irrelvant, his good nature shines through his prose.

I'm not going to give this a rating or a review because I think I'm in academic essay mode, as opposed to enjoyment/leisure mode, and I have plently of essays to come. What I will say, is that of the two essays, The Politcal Economny was my favourite.

It's funny that the last...more
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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 Emile or On Education

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