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Individual deliberation, moral autonomy and emotions: Rousseau on citizenship

  • Christophe Salvat

    (Greqam, CNRS Marseille)

The present study addresses the question of uncertainty in individual deliberation in Rousseau’s philosophy. Accordingly, it intends to consider in a new light his account of virtue and citizenship which cannot possibly be defined as systematic obedience to the general will. Weakness of the will, indeterminacy and prudence have not yet been adequately emphasized, despite some convincing evidence. Chapter XI, book III, of the Social Contract on the death of the body politic, for example, prompts us to reconsider the individuals’ allegiance to the general will. However, it would be equally extreme to dismiss the core of his thought which affirms the legitimate superiority of the general will over particular desires. Rather it will be illustrated here that, when brought together, these two propositions provide a fruitful way of approaching this ethical issue.

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Paper provided by SCEME in its series SCEME Working Papers: Advances in Economic Methodology with number 017/2007.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sti:wpaper:017/2007
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