Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals

Paperback | March 25, 2010

byJoshua Cohen

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In famously beautiful and laconic prose, Jean-Jacques Rousseau presents us with a forceful picture of a democratic society, in which we live together as free and equal, and our politics focuses on the common good. In Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals Joshua Cohen explains how the values offreedom, equality, and community all work together as parts of the democratic ideal expressed in Rousseau's conception of the 'society of the general will'. The book also explains Rousseau's anti-Augustinian and anti-Hobbesian idea that we are naturally good, shows why Rousseau thinks it isreasonable for us to endorse that idea, and discusses how our natural goodness might make a free community of equals possible for us. And Cohen examines in detail Rousseau's picture of the institutions of a democratic society: why he emphasised the importance of political participation, how heargued against extreme inequalities, and what led him to embrace a civil religion as necessary for the society of the general will. This book provides an analytical and critical appraisal of Rousseau's political thought that, while frank about its limits, also explains its enduring power.

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In famously beautiful and laconic prose, Jean-Jacques Rousseau presents us with a forceful picture of a democratic society, in which we live together as free and equal, and our politics focuses on the common good. In Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals Joshua Cohen explains how the values offreedom, equality, and community all work to...

Joshua Cohen taught political philosophy at MIT from 1977-2006, and now teaches at Stanford in political science, philosophy, and law, where he is Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:210 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.49 inPublished:March 25, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199581509

ISBN - 13:9780199581504

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. A Free Community of Equals?2. The Society of the General Will3. Reflections on the General Will's Sovereignty4. The Natural Goodness of Humanity5. Democracy