Études Rousseau 17:151-165 (2009)

Michaela Rehm
Bielefeld University
It appears that Rousseau has annulled the dichotomy between man and citizen for the benefit of the citizen – after all, the social contract implies the “total alienation of each associate, together with all his rights, to the whole community”. Does this not mean the individual is completely absorbed by the collectivity? The paper takes up the role of religion for politics in Rousseau’s work to show that even civil religion cannot help to re-establish the lost unity between man and citizen, on the contrary, it only makes this division visible. As long as the individual is part of the body politic, he or she has to accept having a fragmented existence. The text aims to clarify that Rousseau blamed the protagonists of the established churches as well as his fellow Enlightenment philosophers for striving to overcome the contradictions of human existence, while Rousseau himself defended the distinction between “res privata” and “res publica” and the tensions it might cause in the individual. The paper therefore suggests a liberal reading of Rousseau.
Keywords Enlightenment  conscience  natural religion  atheism  civil religion  alienation
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Keine Politik ohne Moral, keine Moral ohne Religion?Michaela Rehm - 2008 - In Mathias Hildebrandt & Manfred Brocker (eds.), Der Begriff der Religion. VS Verlag. pp. 59-80.


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