Jean-Jacques Roussseau tricentenary

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Jean-Jacques Roussseau tricentenary


nothing  posted here yet this year (that I have seen), on the tricentenary of Rousseau's birth in Geneva;

but loads of activities in alpine France where I live, and where Rousseau camped out at Chambéry for several creative years, so the Rhone-Alpes region is doing lots:

Rousseau neither fish nor fowl philosophically -- cannot be classified among rationalists or empiricists, idealists or any other category; he basically is his own category

Worth posting some stuff in this regard: What is his cultural/political legacy today?




With Rousseau there was this reference to the idea of an original 'noble savage,' around which a society with its compacts and compromises are built.  Morality was a natural, innately human condition as opposed to something formulated from within society, and that mankind's natural and moralistic aversion toward suffering becomes eroded as certain predicates compete with one another for domination within society. 

It's easy to see how someone as intellectually dishonest as Rand could have seen fit to cherry pick from Rousseau in asserting that the individual should 'exist for their own sake,' and that the 'pursuit of ones own rational self-interest' represents the highest moral purpose; which is a complete forgery from Rousseau to begin with.

Just as proponents of evolutionary science today wouldn't necessarily wish to see a society built upon the principles of natural selection, Rousseau conceptualized that within an ideal society, the notion of functioning within the parameters of 'the general will,' where this innate morality is codified into the service of the common good, was better than one where individual greed is allowed to predominate.  Problems arise when groups and individuals become estranged from the paramount of functioning to the good of all.  Confusion surfaces as destructive charlatans and hypocrites like Rand obscure what it actually means to function in this manner.  Foucault later called into question the notion that morality was inherent to human nature, certainly as expressed within the dispositif.

Of course, codification requires a bureaucracy and enforcement mechanisms, to the point where one eventually considers the need to once again rise up against the inexorable weight of bureaucratic oppression, which never ceases expanding upon itself, where yet another bureaucracy is required to guard against counter-revolution.



Google of "Rousseau impact" nets quite a catch:

ranging from "destroying" civilization to "saving" it ....


[and yes: unchangeable thread title immortalizes J-J name with 3 sss's]



Is it spelled Roussseau because of the tricentenary? Just askin'.


oh, you union wits...

anyway, went to a conference last evening by Swiss professor Ghislan Waterlot on the theme of "theism" (or théisme in French, not sure how it is rendered) and Rousseau-Voltaire ... he argued that while many things divided those two, many things also united them

Theologically, they were both theists (not Deists), meaning while the universe has a logic which implies a founding intelligence, it also has a moral sense. Hence they were both believers, often of a fierce sort, esp. noting Roussseau's visceral rejection of the atheism he came across in Paris.

But Voltaire broke with Rousseau  over Part 2 of the Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar, far too close to the Bible and deification of Jesus for Mr V. From there, it was all downhill....

oh yeah, a tricentenary Rousseau pan:


Do we know yet who will be hosting Rousssseau's quadricentenary?


I wasn't going to comment, but since DaveW let the horse out of the barn, I was thinking about Rousseau a few weeks ago when the "Women who don't want kids" thread was happening. 

After all, Rousseau pressured his lover into abandoning their five children to foundling hospitals (a virtual death sentence in those days). He regretted it later and came up with all kinds of good advice about childrearing. But he is just one example of many that some people just shouldn't have kids, even some who talk the talk.



btw, it was Voltaire who publicized his child abandonment, and I have read that Rousseau's Confessions were part of an elaborate PR campaign to rationalize that among other things in his life for the reading public;

meanwhile, some suggest Voltaire's Candide was a veiled attack on Rousseau's naivete, so point/counterpoint, and two classics result ...