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(p. 286) 16. Rousseau 

(p. 286) 16. Rousseau
Chapter:
(p. 286) 16. Rousseau
Author(s):

David Boucher

DOI:
10.1093/hepl/9780198708926.003.0016
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date: 29 October 2020

This chapter examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's political thought. It first provides a short biography of Rousseau before discussing varying interpretations of his ideas, suggesting that, because of his emphasis upon civic virtues and freedom as lack of an insidious form of dependence, the republican tradition best reflects Rousseau's concerns. It then considers Rousseau's distinctive contribution to the idea of the state of nature, noting that the springs of action in his state of nature are not reason are self-preservation and sympathy. It also explores Rousseau's views on private property, social contract, inequality, natural law and natural rights, democracy, religion, and censorship. The chapter concludes with an analysis of Rousseau's concern with freedom and dependence, and how the related issues of slavery and women were relevant for him.

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