Jean – Jacques Rousseau

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Jean – Jacques Rousseau (Geneva, 28 June 1712 – Ermenoville, 2 July 1778) was a major Genevois philosopher, writer and composer of the eighteenth – century enlightment, whose political philosophy influenced the French Revolution and the development of modern political and educational thought. His novel, “Emile, or on education” , which he considered his most important work, is a seminal treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. Rousseau’s autobiographical writings: his confessions, which initiated the modern biography, and #### his Reveries of a Solitary Walker, were among the pre – eminent examples of the late eighteenth – century movement known as the “Age of Sensibility”, featuring an increasing focus on subjectivity and introspection that has characterized the modern age. Rosseau also wrote a play and two operasm and made important contributions to music as a theorist. Virtually all our information about Rousseau’s first youth has come from his posthumously published confessions. Perhaps Rousseau’s most important work is the social contrast which outlines the basis for legitimate political order within a frame work of “Classical Republicanism”, published in 1762, it became one of the most influential works of political philosophy in the Western tradition. It developed some of the ideas mentioned in an earlier work, the article “Discourse on political economy”. Rousseau was one of the first to advocate developmentally appropriate education; and his description of the stages of child development mirrors his conception of the evolution of culture. In Rousseau’s philosophy, society’s negative influence on men centres on its transformation of a positive self-love, into amour-propre, or pride. Amour-propre represents the instinctive human desire for self preservation combined with the human power of reason. In common with other philosophers of the day, Rousseau looked to hypothetical State of Nature as a normative guide.

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