Rousseau's Theory of Human Association: Transparent and Opaque Communities / Edition 1

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This book examines Rousseau's ideas about the natural transparency of human intention, the loss of this transparency in the opaque cities of Europe, and the possibility of its restoration within small republican communities. The author weaves together Rousseau's provocative conjectures about transparency and opaqueness to provide an original interpretation of Rousseau's political thought and its bearing on several contemporary controversies. He also argues that civic cooperation in Rousseau's model republic requires mutual surveillance; that Hobbes's argument for a sovereign state assumes the natural opacity of human intention; and that Adam Smith's "invisible hand" cannot efficiently coordinate the self-interested choices of opaque traders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A rational-choice interpretation of Rousseau? And one that even people bored by rational-choice theory will want to read? That is the miracle Greg Hill has pulled off. Rousseau's Theory of Human Association is an engaging read and a challenge--not only to conventional interpretations of Rousseau--but to defenses of unfettered capitalism. Hill writes well and thinks hard, and the results will be worthwhile for anyone with an interest in Rousseau or in the nature of modern interpersonal relationships."
--Jeffrey Friedman, Editor, Critical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403972590
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/14/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Hill is a Strategic Advisor in the City of Seattle's Department of Finance. He was Lecturer and Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington, and served as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Seattle. He has published articles in philosophy, political theory, and economics, including contributions to Polity, The Review of Politics, Rationality & Society, Political Research Quarterly, The Journal of Social Philosophy, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Critical Review, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Economic Issues, Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, and Economics of Planning.

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Table of Contents

• Transparency and Opacity in Nature, Society, and State
• Association and Civil Society in Transparent and Opaque Societies
• Opaque Traders and the Invisible Hand
• The Ring of Gyges, the Perfect Shield, and the Veil of Ignorance* Conclusion

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