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Philosopher of the month: Jean-Jacques Rousseau [timeline]

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This January, the OUP Philosophy team honors Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) as their Philosopher of the Month. Rousseau was a Swiss writer and philosopher, considered important for his contribution to modern European intellectual history and political philosophy. He is best known for Social Contract (1762) with its famous opening line: “Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains.” Rousseau’s books attracted both admiration and hostility during his lifetime and exerted profound influence on French revolutionaries, his contemporaries, and later thinkers such as Kant, Hume, Wollstonecraft, Hegel, and Marx. His contributions to political philosophy can be seen in various works such as Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (1755) and The Social Contract (1762). Rousseau’s central thinking in politics is that a state cannot be sovereign unless it is guided by the “general will,” or the collective will of its citizens, taken as a whole. The general will. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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