In this extraordinary work, Peter Alexander Meyers shows how the centerpiece of the Enlightenment- society as the symbol of collective human life and as the fundamental domain of human practice-was primarily composed and animated by its most ambivalent figure: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Displaying this new society as an evolving field of interdependence, Abandoned to Ourselves traces the emergence and moral significance of dependence itself within Rousseau's encounters with a variety of discourses of order, including theology, natural philosophy, and music. Underpinning this whole scene we discover a modernizing conception of the human Will, one that runs far deeper than Rousseau's most famous trope, the "general Will." As Abandoned to Ourselves weaves together historical acuity with theoretical insight, readers will find here elements for a reconstructed sociology inclusive of things and persons and, as a consequence, a new foundation for contemporary political theory.
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Yale University Press
August 25, 2013
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