The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Two Discourses and Social Contract

Book - 2014
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Individualist and communitarian. Anarchist and totalitarian. Classicist and romanticist. Progressive and reactionary. Since the eighteenth century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been said to be all of these things. Few philosophers have been the subject of as much or as intense debate, yet almost everyone agrees that Rousseau is among the most important and influential thinkers in the history of political philosophy. This new edition of his major political writings, published in the year of the three-hundredth anniversary of his birth, renews attention to the perennial importance of Rousseau’s work.

 
The book brings together superb new translations by renowned Rousseau scholar John T. Scott of three of Rousseau’s works: the Discourse on the Sciences and Arts, the Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men, and On the Social Contract. The two Discourses show Rousseau developing his well-known conception of the natural goodness of man and the problems posed by life in society. With the Social Contract, Rousseau became the first major thinker to argue that democracy is the only legitimate form of political organization. Scott’s extensive introduction enhances our understanding of these foundational writings, providing background information, social and historical context, and guidance for interpreting the works. Throughout, translation and editorial notes clarify ideas and terms that might not be immediately familiar to most readers.
 
The three works collected in The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau represent an important contribution to eighteenth-century political theory that has exerted an extensive influence on generations of thinkers, beginning with the leaders of the French Revolution and continuing to the present day. The new translations on offer here will be welcomed by a wide readership of both Rousseau scholars and readers with a general interest in political thought.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau is one of the most important and influential thinkers in the history of political philosophy. This edition brings together in one volume, superb new translations of the three works upon which that reputation rests: theDiscourse on the Sciences and the Arts, the Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men, andOn the Social Contract. Rousseau’s political thought rests on the conception of human nature and society developed in the two discourses: that human beings are by nature good and are corrupted in society. With the Social Contract, Rousseau became the first major thinker to argue that democracy is the only legitimate form of government. Rousseau’s French is both literary and philosophical, seamlessly combining the lyrical and the technical. John T. Scott, one of the world’s pre-eminent Rousseau scholars, has given us with translations that are faithful to the originals while capturing the harmony of Rousseau’s prose and conveying an idea of the effect on the reader of reading him in the original. This edition also has a substantial introduction that provides background on Rousseau’s life and context for the political writings, as well as some guidance in their interpretation. There also editorial and translation notes to clarify or explain ideas or terms not familiar to most readers.


Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : The University of Chicago Press, 2014
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780226151311
Branch Call Number: 320 R7627m 2014
Characteristics: lv, 287 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

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