That All Children Should Be Free: Beauvoir, Rousseau, and Childhood

Hypatia 25 (2):394 - 411 (2010)
Abstract
Simone de Beauvoir offers one of the most interesting philosophical accounts of childhood, and, as numerous scholars have argued, it is one of the most important contributions that she made to existentialism. Beauvoir stressed the importance of childhood on one's ability to assume one's freedom. This radically changed how freedom was construed for existentialism. Rather than positing an adult subjectivity that tries to flee freedom through bad faith, Beauvoir's account forces a recognition of a situated freedom that itself is also developmentally achieved. In this article, I explore the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Beauvoir's discussion of childhood. By reading Beauvoir through Rousseau — who was one of her favorite authors — we see not just one but two accounts of childhood in Beauvoir's philosophical work. On the one hand is the idealistic childhood wherein the child is an apprentice to freedom. On the other is the constrained childhood whose product is apprenticed to the serious. I begin with a brief summary of Rousseau's Emile. Next, I offer some justification for reading Beauvoir alongside Rousseau before offering an account of Beauvoir's discussion of childhood. I end by exploring some of the implications of my reading for freedom
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    View all 8 references

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2010-08-11

    Total downloads

    25 ( #58,719 of 1,089,154 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,735 of 1,089,154 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.