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Mads Qvortrup

populations in Europe continued to accept the literal truth of the Bible and the existence of a Christian order, those in the forefront of the new scientific and intellectual movements had been ‘alienated from a Church that insisted on the literal truth of revelation’ (Hampson 1990: 94). It was left to d’Holbach, in his Système de la nature, to assert, with characteristic bluntness, that there was no divine purpose and no master plan: The whole cannot have an object, for outside itself there is nothing towards which it can tend … Men have completely failed to see that this

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Open Access (free)
In the beginning was song
Mads Qvortrup

emotions. In Dictionnaire de musique he wrote that Chap006.p65 112 11/09/03, 13:36 In the beginning was song 113 music acts more intimately on us by in a sense arousing in us feelings similar to those, which might be aroused by another … may all nature be asleep, he who contemplates it does not sleep, and the art of the musician consists in substituting for the insensible image of the object that of the movements which its presence arouses in the heart of he who contemplates. (V: 860–1) Music, in other words, held the key to restoring our original emotions, that

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Mads Qvortrup

paraphrasing of American poet Walt Whitman’s dictum ‘I am large. I contain multitudes’. Rousseau insisted that man was large enough to contain paradoxical traits that could not be reconciled. His project was to seek a formula for how the different natures could be made to co-exist without mental torment and social anomie. Being victims of a culture that values specialisation, it is difficult for us to grasp the scale of Rousseau’s ambition. Specialists by definition focus narrowly. Modern political theorists have had the rather unfortunate, if understandable, habit of

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau’s and nationalism
Mads Qvortrup

desire contradictories – virtue and soft sentiment, political society and the state of nature, philosophy and ignorance’ (Bloom 1987: 559). Rousseau was aware of this. As he wrote in Du Contrat social, ‘Please attentive reader, do not hasten to accuse me of contradiction. I cannot avoid a contradiction of words, because of the poverty of the language’ (III: 373). The limits of his language were not – to paraphrase Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (Wittgenstein 1984: 1) – the limits of his world. However, the question is whether there is a paradox in Rousseau’s writings

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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An introduction
Saurabh Dube

in recent decades. 1 I indicate three such sets of queries here. 2 The first set concerns vigorous challenges to univocal conceptions of universal history under the terms of modernity. Imaginatively exploring distinct pasts that were forged within wider intermeshed matrices of power, such emphases have questioned pervasive imperatives of historical progress and the very nature of the historical

in Subjects of modernity
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Identities and incitements
Saurabh Dube

the abiding imperatives of historical progress and the very nature of the academic archive, each envisioned as an intimate image of a reified West. Second, acute interrogations of dominant designs of a singular modernity, which have simultaneously revealed the contradictory and contingent nature of the phenomena as well as explored contending intimations of heterogeneous moderns. Finally, the placing

in Subjects of modernity
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Mads Qvortrup

learn from his writings. Moreover, in addition to explicitly stating that he was writing for all subsequent generations (see above), Rousseau arguably wrote about issues that were as salient then as they are now. The issue that ‘power corrupts’ may serve as an illustration. Rulers have always sought absolute power (or as few restraints as possible), hence the nature of the problem of constitutionalism has stayed unaltered, although the political circumstances have changed. It is, of course, true that we – as readers – belong to different traditions, and all reading is

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Open Access (free)
The life and times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Mads Qvortrup

perceptive scholar: The picture of Jean-Jacques’s departure from and return to nature is a part of the moral fable of the Confessions as well as a complementary part of Rousseau’s system. With the account of his own life, Rousseau gives a persuasive image of human experience. Jean-Jacques may be too idiosyncratic and at times too unattractive to be an exemplary figure. Nevertheless, the description of his experience does transform the readers of the confessions by exposing them to a new way of looking at life. (Kelly 1987: 248) Perhaps so, however, the public perception

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson

implicitly endorses what Stacy Clifford calls a “capacity contract”, by which some members of society are deemed to be naturally governed by others (Clifford 2014 ). According to the capacity contract (democratic) citizenship should be limited to those who are by nature capable of ruling, while all others are relegated to some subaltern status, such as semi-citizenship (Cohen 2009 ) or wardship (or, in the case of animals, property

in Democratic inclusion
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Rainer Bauböck

vision of a just world with distinct polities, I will take the risk and describe an ideal global boundary structure. In such a structure a plurality of independent states pool their sovereignty partly in larger regional unions and devolve it partly to autonomous regions and municipalities in their territory; submit to institutions of global governance with regard to issues that by their very nature affect all humankind; and keep their borders open for each other

in Democratic inclusion