Rousseau'S Social Contract: An Introduction (Cambridge Introductions To Key Philosophical Texts)
Publish Date: 2014-01-20
Author: David Lay Williams
Attention: For textbook, access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
If the greatness of a philosophical work can be measured by the volume and vehemence of the public response, there is little question that Rousseau's Social Contract stands out as a masterpiece. Within a week of its publication in 1762 it was banished from France. Soon thereafter, Rousseau fled to Geneva, where he saw the book burned in public. At the same time, many of his contemporaries, such as Kant, considered Rousseau to be the Newton of the moral world, as he was the first philosopher to draw attention to the basic dignity of human nature. The Social Contract has never ceased to be read in the 250 years since it was written. Rousseau's Social Contract : An Introduction offers a thorough and systematic tour of this notoriously paradoxical and challenging text. David Lay Williams offers readers a chapter-by-chapter reading of the Social Contract, squarely confronting these interpretive obstacles, leaving no stones unturned. The conclusion connects Rousseau's text both to his important influences and those who took inspiration and sometimes exception to his arguments. The book also features a special extended appendix dedicated to outlining his famous conception of the general will, which has been the object of controversy since the Social Contract's publication in 1762.