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Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and Their Legacies$
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Robert Wokler and Bryan Garsten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147888

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147888.001.0001

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The Enlightenment Hostilities of Voltaire and Rouseau

The Enlightenment Hostilities of Voltaire and Rouseau

(p.80) Chapter 5 The Enlightenment Hostilities of Voltaire and Rouseau
Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and Their Legacies

Robert Wokler

, Bryan Garsten

Christopher Brooke

Princeton University Press

This chapter details the relationship between Voltaire and Rousseau, highlighting their personal and doctrinal differences. The two men could not be friends, nor hold to the same principles of Enlightenment. However, they were at least both critics of the Enlightenment's enemies, and from different perspectives they attacked similar targets—obscurantism and superstition in theology, metaphysics and dogmatism in philosophy, and despotic systems of tyranny and privilege in politics and economics. Both figures were also generally critical of the great speculative systems of European philosophy that prevailed in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries: Voltaire challenging mainly the metaphysics of Descartes and the theodicy of Leibniz, Rousseau objecting more to the natural law philosophies of Grotius, Hobbes, Pufendorf and even Locke.

Keywords:   Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Enlightenment, European philosophy

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