Category Archives: Rousseau (1712 – 1788 ce)

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.

Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religion (2017)

Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religionby Heinrich Meier,
Robert Berman (Translator)

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“Heinrich Meier’s guiding insight in Political Philosophy and the Challenge of Revealed Religion is that philosophy must prove its right and its necessity in the face of the claim to truth and demand for obedience of its most powerful opponent, revealed religion. Philosophy must rationally justify and politically defend its free and unreserved questioning, and, in doing so, turns decisively to political philosophy.

In the first of three chapters, Meier determines four intertwined moments constituting the concept of political philosophy as an articulated and internally dynamic whole. The following two chapters develop the concept through the interpretation of two masterpieces of political philosophy that have occupied Meier’s attention for more than thirty years: Leo Strauss’s Thoughts on Machiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract. Meier provides a detailed investigation of Thoughts on Machiavelli, with an appendix containing Strauss’s original manuscript headings for each of his paragraphs. Linking the problem of Socrates (the origin of political philosophy) with the problem of Machiavelli (the beginning of modern political philosophy), while placing between them the political and theological claims opposed to philosophy, Strauss’s most complex and controversial book proves to be, as Meier shows, the most astonishing treatise on the challenge of revealed religion. The final chapter, which offers a new interpretation of the Social Contract, demonstrates that Rousseau’s most famous work can be adequately understood only as a coherent political-philosophic response to theocracy in all its forms.”