David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Social Criticism 26 (2):51-77 (2000)
Against the impression that Rousseau is an eclectic thinker, this paper is an attempt to reconstruct the systematic core of his anthropology. First, I discuss the methodological starting-point. Second, I develop the structural framework required to make the concept of nature operative as an ideal within social contexts. Finally, I interpret Rousseau's genetic account in terms of this framework. Such a procedure allows me to solve two interpretative problems, the aporia of the origin of wickedness and the question of man's natural isolation. A twofold notion of logic is introduced to integrate the demands of history and structure, which overlap with those of freedom and necessity in Rousseau's thought. This organizes my argument in a mirror-like way. I call this undertaking an essay, for it is the endeavor to think what Rousseau must have thought in order to write what he wrote. Key Words: amour de soi amour propre bourgeois ego sentio human make-up human nature natural as ideal other-centered savage self-centered totalities of feeling totalities of needs.
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