The Challenge of Rousseau

Overview

Written by prominent scholars of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy, this collection celebrates the 300th anniversary of Rousseau's birth and the 250th anniversary of the publication of Emile. The depth and systematic character of Rousseau's thought was recognized almost immediately by thinkers such as Kant and Hegel, yet debate continues over the degree to which Rousseau's legacy is the result of poetic, literary, or rhetorical genius, rather than of philosophic rigor or profundity. The authors focus on ...

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The Challenge of Rousseau

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Overview

Written by prominent scholars of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy, this collection celebrates the 300th anniversary of Rousseau's birth and the 250th anniversary of the publication of Emile. The depth and systematic character of Rousseau's thought was recognized almost immediately by thinkers such as Kant and Hegel, yet debate continues over the degree to which Rousseau's legacy is the result of poetic, literary, or rhetorical genius, rather than of philosophic rigor or profundity. The authors focus on Rousseau's genuine yet undervalued stature as a philosopher. This collection includes essays that develop some of the complex problems Rousseau treated so radically and profoundly, as well as essays on the vigorous debates he engaged in with thoughtful contemporaries and predecessors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Eve Grace and Christopher Kelly have assembled a fine collection of essays of exceptionally high quality. They more than meet 'the challenge' of showing that there is coherence, consistency, and rigor as well as creativity in Rousseau's thought. The scholarship is exemplary, combining careful study of the original texts, clear argumentation, and critical engagement with existing commentaries."
- Catherine Zuckert, Notre Dame

"This volume brings together in a well-orchestrated collection important new interpretations by the most dynamic contemporary Rousseau scholars, senior and junior, continental and American."
- Thomas L. Pangle, The University of Texas at Austin

"These excellent essays are an irresistible invitation to engage Rousseau's thought in all of its depth and complexity."
- Ruth Grant, Duke University

"Marking the tricentennial of Rousseau's birth, this collection of essays is strikingly fresh and new. Bringing together major scholars to reexamine the central themes of Rousseau's complex system, the volume sheds important new light on almost every subject it touches. While the authors have their differences, all agree on the need to treat Rousseau with the greatest philosophical seriousness. A first-rate collection."
- Arthur Melzer, Michigan State University

"The Challenge of Rousseau promises to demonstrate Rousseau's status as a thinker of the first rank, and it amply delivers. Editors Eve Grace and Christopher Kelly have assembled a diverse and impressive collection of essays, written by some of the most important scholars working on Rousseau in both the United States and France. The Challenge of Rousseau makes the case for Rousseau's status as a thinker of the first rank by exploring Rousseau's engagement with his philosophical predecessors; by directing new attention to Rousseau's contributions in theology, epistemology, and the natural sciences; and by opening fresh perspectives on Rousseau's political writings. Every essay contains some valuable insight; all are lucidly argued and feature meticulous attention to the texts of Rousseau and his philosophical interlocutors. This collection will be an invaluable resource to anyone seeking a full appreciation of Rousseau's considerable intellectual achievements or a concise introduction to the best of the secondary literature."
- Joseph R. Reisert, Colby College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107018280
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2013
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Eve Grace is A. E. and Ethel Irene Carleton Professor of Social Sciences in the Political Science Department at Colorado College. With Christopher Kelly, she co-edited Rousseau on Women, Love, and Family (2009) and Letter to Beaumont, Letters Written from the Mountain, and Related Writings (2001). She has contributed essays to several volumes, including The Pious Sex: Essays on Women and Religion in the History of Political Thought (2010), Autobiography as Philosophy: A Collection of Essays on the Uses of Self-Presentations by Philosophers (2006) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Critical Assessments (2005).

Christopher Kelly is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. He is co-editor of the series The Collected Writings of Rousseau (1990-2009) and the author of Rousseau as Author: Consecrating One's Life to the Truth (2003) and Rousseau's Exemplary Life: 'The Confessions' as Political Philosophy (1987). With Eve Grace, he co-edited Rousseau on Women, Love, and Family (2009) and Letter to Beaumont, Letters Written from the Mountain, and Related Writings (2001). He has contributed essays to The Cambridge Companion to Rousseau (2001) and The Legacy of Rousseau (1997).

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Table of Contents

Introduction Eve Grace and Christopher Kelly; Part I. Politics and Economics: 1. Rousseau and the illustrious Montesquieu Christopher Kelly; 2. Political economy and individual liberty Ryan Patrick Hanley; Part II. Science and Epistemology: 3. The presence of sciences in Rousseau's trajectory and works Bruno Bernardi and Bernadette Bensaud-Vincent; 4. Epistemology and political perception in the case of Rousseau Terence Marshall; Part III. The Modern or Classical, Theological or Philosophical, Foundations of Rousseau's System: 5. On the intention of Rousseau Leo Strauss; 6. On Strauss on Rousseau Victor Gourevitch; 7. Built on sand: moral law in Rousseau's Second Discourse Victor Gourevitch; 8. Rousseau and Pascal Matthew W. Maguire; Part IV. Rousseau as Educator and Legislator: 9. The measure of the possible: imagination in Rousseau's philosophical pedagogy Richard Velkley; 10. Rousseau's French revolution Pamela K. Jensen; 11. Rousseau's challenge to Locke (and to us) Jonathan Marks; 12. Stalking Puer Robustus: Hobbes and Rousseau on the origin of human malice Susan Meld Shell; Part V. Unease, Happiness, and Death: 13. Rousseau's unease with Locke's uneasiness John T. Scott; 14. Montaigne and Rousseau: some reflections Pierre Manent.

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