Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a notorious philosopher in the Western intellectual tradition. He has been described as a “guttersnipe of genius” by the eminent English philosopher and historian Isaiah Berlin. Many scholars also credit him as serving as the totalitarian inspiration for the French Revolution and Bolshevism through his theory of the general will. He also laid the foundations, nevertheless, for many modern beliefs: man is good and is corrupted by civilization and institutions, society enslaves the individual, politics should be about the “general will.” In this series of online lectures, I explore the philosophy of Rousseau by examining his Discourses on Inequality and Social Contract, his most famous work of philosophy.
LECTURE ONE: THE FIRST DISCOURSE ON INEQUALITY
LECTURE TWO: THE SECOND DISCOURSE ON INEQUALITY
LECTURE THREE: THE SOCIAL CONTRACT
LECTURE FOUR: THE GENERAL WILL (THE SOCIAL CONTRACT)
Hesiod, Paul Krause in real life, is the editor-in-chief of VoegelinView. He is writer, classicist, and historian. He has written on the arts, culture, classics, literature, philosophy, religion, and history for numerous journals, magazines, and newspapers. He is the author of The Odyssey of Love and the Politics of Plato, and a contributor to the College Lecture Today and Making Sense of Diseases and Disasters. He holds master’s degrees in philosophy and religious studies (biblical studies & theology) from the University of Buckingham and Yale, and a bachelor’s degree in economics, history, and philosophy from Baldwin Wallace University.
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