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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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Rouseau’s Reading of the Book of Genesis and the Theology of Commercial Society

Rouseau’s Reading of the Book of Genesis and the Theology of Commercial Society

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 7 Rouseau’s Reading of the Book of Genesis and the Theology of Commercial Society
Source:
Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and Their Legacies
Author(s):

Robert Wokler

, Bryan Garsten

Christopher Brooke

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691147888.003.0007

This chapter raises the question of why the themes and images so central to Rousseau's account of our natural goodness and social corruption are not to be found in the most seminal exposition of his philosophy of history. It addresses this question with regard to the still extant fragments of the Discours sur l'inégalité, in so far as they shed light on its original framework and the range of topics in it that Rousseau initially intended to develop. Just as the Contrat social distilled only a number of themes from a larger treatise he at first planned to call the Institutions politiques, so the second Discours embraces only a part of his philosophy of history, whose elaboration elsewhere can be traced to both early and intermediate sketches of the text, of which the manuscript submitted for publication has been lost.

Keywords:   Jacques Rousseau, political philosophy, natural goodness, social corruption, philosophy of history

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