EIGHT

Rousseau (1712–1778): The General Will and Moral and Political Liberty

Rousseau may be the third thinker in the social contractarian triumvirate of Hobbes, Locke and himself, but he remains one of the first thinkers to offer us a strong critique of modern social and political institutions in the name of the modern values of equality, liberty and democracy. Rousseau’s pulling down of modern institutions is not done in the name of, for example, their having overturned the natural order of hierarchy; instead, he shows us again and again their failure to match their promise of embodying equal and free rights for all. In a very important sense, Rousseau begins the counter tradition of questioning the progressiveness of modernity.

Jean Jacques ...

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