The Autocritique of Enlightenment : Rousseau and the Philosophes book cover
1st Edition

The Autocritique of Enlightenment
Rousseau and the Philosophes

Edited By

Mark Hulliung

ISBN 9781412853644
Published February 28, 2014 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

Of all the critiques of the Enlightenment, the most telling may be found in the life and writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This searching, long overlooked auto critique receives its first full treatment by Mark Hulliung. Here he restores Rousseau to his historical context, the world of the philosophes, and shows how he employed the arsenal of Voltaire, Diderot, and others to launch a powerful attack on their version of the Enlightenment.

With great intellectual skill and rhetorical force, Rousseau exposed the inconsistencies and shortcomings of the Enlightenment: the psychology of Locke, the genre of philosophical and conjectural history, the latest applications of science to the study of society and politics, and the growing interest in materialist modes of thought. As the century moved on, Hulliung shows, the most advanced philosophes found themselves drawn to conclusions that paralleled Rousseau's—an agreement that went unacknowledged at the time. The Enlightenment that emerges here is richer, more nuanced, and more self-critical than the one reflected in many interpretations. By extracting Rousseau from personal entangle-ments that stymied debate in his time and that mislead critics to this day, Hulliung reveals the remarkable—and remarkably unacknowledged—force of Rousseau's accomplishment. This edition includes a brilliant new introduction by the author.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition: Revisiting
The Autocritique of Enlightenment: Rousseau and the Philosophes


Cast of Supporting Characters

Author's Note on Works Referenced

Introduction: Rousseau and the Philosophes

1 The Virtue of Selfishness
The Misanthrope Silenced
Self-Love Vindicated
Both Interest and Virtue
Citizens and Believers
Utility for Citizens and Children
The Misanthrope Avenged

2 Philosophical History
Cultural versus Political History
Cultural as Political History
Conjectural History
Conjectural History Radicalized
The World We Have Lost

3 From Criticism to Self-Criticism
Into the World
The Stoic in Spite of Himself
The Self-Doubt of a Philosophe
The Father Despoils the Philosophe
Birth of a Republican

4 Three Enemies in One Person
The Hidden Republic
Burning the Vanities
From Politics to the Family
Haven in a Heartless World

5 Generation, Degeneration, Regeneration
Analysis and Genesis
Natural (and Unnatural) History
System and Antisystem
Matter and Antimatter
The Ideal Materialist

6 Judging Jean-Jacques
Dialogue or Two Monologues?
High Muckraking
The Paradox of Acting
Rousseau Judges Jean-Jacques

Conclusion: Posterity Gained and Lost


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