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Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau$
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John Plamenatz, Mark Philp, and Zbigniew Pelczynski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645060

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645060.001.0001

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Rousseau’s Place in the History of Political Thought

Rousseau’s Place in the History of Political Thought

(p.163) 11 Rousseau’s Place in the History of Political Thought
Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau

Mark Philp

Z. A. Pelczynski

Oxford University Press

Plamenatz emphasizes the social character of Rousseau’s political thought and the innovatory character of his work, which drew on earlier traditions but dramatically extended and enriched them. Man is both creator and creature of society, suspicious equally of enlightenment and traditional principles and values, an enemy of inequality, but aware of the dangers of progress and reform. The dangers of society and of progress are that they corrupt man’s independence, and it is as a free and independent agent that man retains his morality. Rousseau’s interests in religion and education are central to his concern with sustaining the morality of social man.

Keywords:   Rousseau, society, morality, independence, dependence, enlightenment, religion, education

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