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The impossibility of reason

This book presents an overview of Jean–Jacques Rousseau's work from a political science perspective. Was Rousseau — the great theorist of the French Revolution—really a conservative? The text argues that the author of ‘The Social Contract’ was a constitutionalist much closer to Madison, Montesquieu, and Locke than to revolutionaries. Outlining his profound opposition to Godless materialism and revolutionary change, this book finds parallels between Rousseau and Burke, as well as showing that Rousseau developed the first modern theory of nationalism. It presents an integrated political analysis of Rousseau's educational, ethical, religious and political writings.

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Art and interpretation

in Truth and Method, but it will become evident in what follows that Gadamer’s flawed interpretation is a further source of the failure to appreciate Schleiermacher’s real significance.1 It should perhaps be stated at the outset that I shall not be dealing with Schleiermacher’s theology. Most of his philosophy can stand without his theology, and this was something upon which Schleiermacher himself often insisted.2 A brief consideration of influential changes in the analytical philosophy of language since Quine can begin to make it clear both why Schleiermacher

in Aesthetics and subjectivity

are those of a God’ (IV: 625). This view was as strange to the Philosophes as it is to their present-day heirs. In more ways than one everything has changed and yet remained the same. The ‘ardent missionaries of atheism’ still confidently predict the Chap002.p65 23 11/09/03, 13:33 24 The political philosophy of Rousseau demise of religion, the belief in the afterlife, the existence of God, and ‘ordinary’ men and women still worship – while scientific theories are being falsified. It was this hubris that Rousseau sought to combat – and it was this that brought

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

continuing in Du Contrat Social and Lettres, Rousseau pointed to the veto-power of the ordinary citizens as a bulwark against radical changes enacted or proposed by over-eager lawmakers. Recognising that the veto-power of the people – such as it existed in Rome – at all times have been viewed with ‘alarm by the leaders’ (‘ont été de tous temps l’horreur des chefs’) (III: 428), Rousseau believed that the rulers’ opposition to the veto-power of the people was the best proof of the efficiency of this system as a constitutional safeguard (428). Far from advocating direct

in The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

identification otherwise than with formal culture. Outsider fiction is a harbinger of change in Caribbean writing’ (Bryce, 2014 : 162). Early signs of this change began with Victor Headley’s Yardie 4 and were manifested more recently in Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings , which consciously challenges conventional notions of ‘postcolonial’ writing, and introduces all kinds of

in Frontiers of the Caribbean

contrast has emerged in the preceding chapters, which can somewhat crudely be summarised as follows. On the one hand, music can be regarded as a deficient means of articulation in relation to the kind of possibilities for manipulating and changing the world for human purposes offered by verbal language. On the other, it can itself be regarded as a kind of language – which can even be privileged above verbal language – because it reveals aspects of being in the world that verbal language is unable to reveal. Schleiermacher’s work offered a pragmatic way of understanding

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)

promoted by including externally affected interests in decisions made by particular governments and by democratizing global governance regimes through the inclusion of non-state actors and policy stakeholders (Macdonald 2008 ). Globalizing national decision-making and democratizing global decision-making in this way on issues such as climate change, refugee protection, global poverty relief, international criminal justice, trade and finance is

in Democratic inclusion
Open Access (free)

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
The St Vincent and the Grenadines context

existence’ (Richardson, 1997 : 220). The change from a slave-based to an emancipated society did not change the underlying assumptions of white superiority among the colonial and planter elite. In contrast there was among the oppressed a keen awareness of the need to attain freedom and full participation in a society structured along class and colour lines. These contrasting perspectives could only result in

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
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Entanglements and ambiguities

,” where in each copula the former term was privileged over the latter concerning the object of anthropology. Third, these emphases were further bound to wider anthropological predilections toward seeking out continuity and consensus, rather than change and conflict, in the societies being studied. Fourth and finally, the ambivalence toward the temporal dimensions of structure and culture within the

in Subjects of modernity