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European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche$
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Frank M Turner and Richard A. Lofthouse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207293

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207293.001.0001

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Rousseau’s Challenge to Modernity

Rousseau’s Challenge to Modernity

(p.1) Chapter 1 Rousseau’s Challenge to Modernity
European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche

Frank M. Turner

, Richard A. Lofthouse
Yale University Press

This chapter examines the thoughts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He established the idea and the cultural role of the intellectual as it has come to influence modern culture throughout much of the world. He made the social role or social function of the intellectual to be that of a critic who found himself alienated from his or her society while at the same time actually living a life deeply embedded in that society. He believed that the quality that gave himself and later other authors and social critics their authority was sincerity. The following works are discussed: Rousseau's First Discourse (1750), where he set forth a declinist view of the last several centuries of European intellectual and social development; Second Discourse (1754), which stands as one of the seminal documents in European cultural criticism; and The Social Contract and Emile (1762), both of which established a foundation for political and educational utopianism.

Keywords:   Jean-Jacques Rousseau, intellectual, social role, sincerity, First Discourse, Second Discourse, The Social Contract, Emile, political utopianism, educational utopianism

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