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  1. David Lay Williams (2014). Rousseau's Social Contract: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
    If the greatness of a philosophical work can be measured by the volume and vehemence of the public response, there is little question that Rousseau's Social Contract stands out as a masterpiece. Within a week of its publication in 1762 it was banished from France. Soon thereafter, Rousseau fled to Geneva, where he saw the book burned in public. At the same time, many of his contemporaries, such as Kant, considered Rousseau to be 'the Newton of the moral world', as (...)
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  2.  18
    David Lay Williams (2005). Justice and the General Will: Affirming Rousseau's Ancient Orientation. Journal of the History of Ideas 66 (3):383-411.
  3.  15
    David Lay Williams (2009). Hobbes and Terrorism. Critical Review 21 (1):91-108.
    ABSTRACT Terrorism is perhaps the greatest challenge of the contemporary age. Of all the canonical figures in political theory, Thomas Hobbes is the most likely candidate to offer genuine insight into this problem. Yet although his analysis of the state of nature is immediately relevant to the diagnosis of this problem, his metaphysics cannot sustain his politics. His aspiration to ?immutable? natural laws grounded in the universal motivation of the fear of death crumble when this fear is no longer universal. (...)
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  4. David Lay Williams (2007). Rousseau's Platonic Enlightenment. Penn State University Press.
    Although many commentators on Rousseau’s philosophy have noted its affinities with Platonism and acknowledged the debt that Rousseau himself expressed to Plato on numerous occasions, David Williams is the first to offer a thoroughgoing, systematic examination of this linkage. His contributions to the scholarship on Rousseau in this book are threefold: he enters the debate over whether Rousseau is a Hobbesian or a Platonist with a decisive argument supporting the latter position; he tackles from a new angle the ever-challenging question (...)
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  5.  27
    David Lay Williams (2012). Patrick Riley’s Leibniz. The Leibniz Review 21:1-8.
    This essay clarifies Patrick Riley’s account of G. W. Leibniz by placing Leibniz’s moral and political doctrines in historical perspective. By understanding Leibniz’s practical philosophy as a solution to the same problems confronted by Thomas Hobbes, one can appreciate the originality and appeal of Riley’s Leibniz — with its emphasis on benevolence and Platonic ideas. By drawing attention to Leibniz’s practical works, Riley has resurrected an important voice in the history of political thought that had been long neglected. The essay (...)
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  6.  8
    David Lay Williams (2014). Balaguer, Mark. Free Will. Review of Metaphysics 68 (2):415-416.
  7.  3
    David Lay Williams (2004). Hobbes, Locke, and Confusion's Masterpiece: An Examination of Seventeenth-Century Political Philosophy (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2):224-225.
  8. James Farr & David Lay Williams (eds.) (2015). The General Will: The Evolution of a Concept. Cambridge University Press.
    Although it originated in theological debates, the general will ultimately became one of the most celebrated and denigrated concepts emerging from early modern political thought. Jean-Jacques Rousseau made it the central element of his political theory, and it took on a life of its own during the French Revolution, before being subjected to generations of embrace or opprobrium. James Farr and David Lay Williams have collected for the first time a set of essays that track the evolving history of the (...)
     
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  9. David Lay Williams (2009). Christopher D. Wraight, Rousseau's The Social Contract: A Reader's Guide. Philosophy in Review 29 (4):304.
     
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  10. David Lay Williams (2014). Patrick Riley In Memoriam. Leibniz Society Review 24:145-151.
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  11. David Lay Williams (2011). Patrick Riley’s Leibniz. Leibniz Society Review 21:1-8.
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  12. David Lay Williams (2008). Rousseau's Platonic Enlightenment. Penn State University Press.
    Although many commentators on Rousseau’s philosophy have noted its affinities with Platonism and acknowledged the debt that Rousseau himself expressed to Plato on numerous occasions, David Williams is the first to offer a thoroughgoing, systematic examination of this linkage. His contributions to the scholarship on Rousseau in this book are threefold: he enters the debate over whether Rousseau is a Hobbesian or a Platonist with a decisive argument supporting the latter position; he tackles from a new angle the ever-challenging question (...)
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  13. David Lay Williams (1999). The General Will Vs. The Will of All: Making Room for the People in a Transcendently Justified State. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
    In the founding documents of this country one finds appeals both to the sovereignty of the people and to abstract notions of rights, "justice," and "the common good". These two ideas are evoked almost as if there were no sense on behalf of the framers that these two ideas simultaneously held create a philosophic tension. Yet as history informs us, they are often contradictory in content. This theme was explored by Rousseau in his distinction of the general will versus the (...)
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