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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Christophe Salvat, 2007. "Individual deliberation, moral autonomy and emotions: Rousseau on citizenship," SCEME Working Papers: Advances in Economic Methodology 017/2007, SCEME.
  • Handle: RePEc:sti:wpaper:017/2007

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    Rousesau; uncertainty; citizenship;

    JEL classification:

    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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