The Social Contract

The Social Contract

3.9 19
by Jean-Jaques Rousseau
     
 

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With an Introduction by Derek Matravers.

In The Social Contract Rousseau (1712-1778) argues for the preservation of individual freedom in political society. An individual can only be free under the law, he says, by voluntarily embracing that law as his own. Hence, being free in society requires each of us to subjugate our

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Overview

With an Introduction by Derek Matravers.

In The Social Contract Rousseau (1712-1778) argues for the preservation of individual freedom in political society. An individual can only be free under the law, he says, by voluntarily embracing that law as his own. Hence, being free in society requires each of us to subjugate our desires to the interests of all, the general will.

Some have seen in this the promise of a free and equal relationship between society and the individual, while others have seen it as nothing less than a blueprint for totalitarianism. The Social Contract is not only one of the great defences of civil society, it is also unflinching in its study of the darker side of political systems.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781848704992
Publisher:
Wordsworth Editions, Limited
Publication date:
02/01/2013
Series:
Classics of World Literature
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
935 KB

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The Social Contract 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
JohnDubberley More than 1 year ago
I had to read this particular book along with a few others that concerned the social contract theory including "Leviathan" by Thomas Hobbes, and work by people such as John Locke and the like. Being a philosophy major, I am constantly reading works that take all of one's will power to follow. Whether the ideas in the books aren't all that straight foward, or the writer just wasn't an interesting writer (most philosophers aren't. We're usually philosophers first and writers second or third). However, when I sat down to read this text, which is small and not daunting in the slightest, I was pleased to find that this book was a very easy read. Not only was it easy to read, it was easy to follow, and the ideas were set in clear and concise order. "The Social Contract" by Rousseau explains the social contract theory in a way different from Hobbes, who said that before government the world was in an anarchy with people doing what they wanted when they wanted. For Hobbes, the social contract saved us. However, Rousseau takes another route. He says that human beings were at peace before the social contract, and that the contract made us slaves. Through it we made the laws, or chains, that bind us, hence the saying: Laws are the chains the bind us. All in all, whether you're an aspiring philosopher, or you're simply into politics, I would reccomend that you read this book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book my junior year in high school, and it astonished me. I found myself having to read over paragraphs multiple times to merely understand the intense concept of his writing. A must read for anyone with an interest philosophy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Should be required reading in our schools... could lead to informed citizens who think for themselves.