Thinking with Rousseau: From Machiavelli to Schmitt (2017)

Helena Rosenblatt & Paul Schweigert (Editors)

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Although indisputably one of the most important thinkers in the Western intellectual tradition, Rousseau’s actual place within that tradition, and the legacy of his thought, remains hotly disputed. Thinking with Rousseau reconsiders his contribution to this tradition through a series of essays exploring the relationship between Rousseau and other ‘great thinkers’. Ranging from ‘Rousseau and Machiavelli’ to ‘Rousseau and Schmitt’, this volume focuses on the kind of intricate work that intellectuals do when they read each other and grapple with one another’s ideas. This approach is very helpful in explaining how old ideas are transformed and/or transmitted and new ones are generated. Rousseau himself was a master at appropriating the ideas of others, while simultaneously subverting them, and as the essays in this volume vividly demonstrate, the resulting ambivalences and paradoxes in his thought were creatively mined by others.