Rousseau's Theodicy of Self-Love: Evil, Rationality, and the Drive for Recognition

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This book is the first comprehensive study of Rousseau's rich and complex theory of the type of self-love (amour propre) that, for him, marks the central difference between humans and the beasts. Amour propre is the passion that drives human individuals to seek the esteem, approval, admiration, or love - the recognition - of their fellow beings. Neuhouser reconstructs Rousseau's understanding of what the drive for recognition is, why it is so problematic, and how its presence opens up far-reaching developmental possibilities for creatures that possess it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199542673
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederick Neuhouser received his PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1988 and has held teaching positions at Harvard University, University of California, and Cornell University. He is currently Professor of Philosophy and Viola Manderfeld Professor of German at Barnard College, Columbia University and Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychoanalytic Training, Columbia University. He is the author of two earlier books, Fichte's theory of Subjectivity (Cambridge University Press, 1990) and Actualizing Freedom: Foundations of Hegel's Social Theory (Harvard University Press, 2000).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I Human Nature and its Passions 27

1 The Nature of Amour-propre 29

II Diagnosis 55

2 The Dangers of Amour-propre 57

3 The Varieties of Inflamed Amour-propre 90

4 Why Inflamed Amour-propre Is So Common 117

III Prescription 153

5 Social and Domestic Remedies 155

IV Elevating Humankind by Curing the Malady from Within 185

6 The Standpoint of Reason 187

7 Amour-propre's Role in Forming Rational Subjects 218

Conclusion 265

Bibliography 271

Index 275

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