Lecture 20 - Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I-II

author: Steven B. Smith, Department of Political Science, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Jan. 4, 2010,   recorded: November 2006,   views: 3828
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

The concept of "general will" is considered Rousseau's most important contribution to political science. It is presented as the answer to the gravest problems of civilization, namely, the problems of inequality, amour-propre, and general discontent. The social contract is the foundation of the general will and the answer to the problem of natural freedom, because nature itself provides no guidelines for determining who should rule. The lecture ends with Rousseau's legacy and the influence he exercised on later nineteenth-century writers and philosophers.

Reading assignment:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Books I-II

Resources: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract Courtesy of the University of Adelaide Library Electronic Texts Collection

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