About Of the Social Contract and Other Political Writings
A lively new translation of Rousseau’s best-known work, accompanied by additional political writings
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains” are the famous opening words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, a work of political philosophy that has stirred vigorous debate ever since its publication in 1762. Rejecting the view that anyone has a natural right to sovereignty, Rousseau argues instead for a pact—a “social contract”—that should exist among all the citizens of a state and that should be the source of governing power. From this premise, he goes on to consider issues of liberty and justice, arriving at a view of society that has seemed to some a blueprint for totalitarianism, to others a declaration of democratic principles.
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was the author of numerous political and philosophical texts as well as entries on music for Diderot’s Encyclopédie and the novels La nouvelle Héloïse and Émile. Rousseau was also a widely loved composer and philosopher. His philosophy had… More about Jean-Jacques Rousseau