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[Others] MEN AND CITIZENS: A S TUDY OF ROUSSEAU'S SOC IAL THEORY: BY JUDITH N. SHKLAR : Harvard Uni-oersity

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Post time: 11-10-2018 17:38:50
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MEN AND CITIZENS:
A S TUDY OF ROUSSEAU'S SOC IAL THEORY:
BY JUDITH N. SHKLAR : Harvard Uni-oersity:






Jean-Jacques Rousseau was not a professional philosopher. He never
pretended that he was. His great claim was that he alone had been
'the painter of nature and the historian of the human heart'. 1
It was an art that did not demand great logical rigor or systematic
exposition of abstract ideas. Rousseau did not even aspire to these
accomplishments. He did not think that perfect consistency was
really very important. What did matter was always to be truthful. 2
By truthfulness he meant what we generally tend to caU sincerity_,
and in his case it involved an overriding will to derumnce'tlie
social world around him. It made him one of the greatest of the
nay-sayers. His denial was comprehensive, embracing civilization
as a whole. And in his tone of undeviating contempt for all he saw
around him, he was singularly consistent. Moreover, if he was the
very prototype of the homme revolte, he was not without a deep
sense of order, and his ideas found expression in a form of social
criticism that was both formal and traditional in its structure. 3 For
Rousseau was the last of the classical utopists. He was the last'
great political theorist to be utterly uninterested in history,past or
future, the last also to judge and"'

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