Gendered community: Rousseau, sex, and politics by Penny A. Weiss

By Penny A. Weiss

Rousseau's writings mirror paradoxes and obvious inconsistencies together with his principled commitments to freedom and equality. during this engrossing paintings, Penny Weiss wrestles with problems with gender within the works of Rousseau.Weiss makes an attempt to unravel obvious inconsistencies by way of putting them in the context of Rousseau's political philosophy, whereas warding off the impulse to characteristic his feedback at the sexes to the sexist instances within which he wrote, or to his own idiosyncracies.A major contribution to feminist idea, this ebook addresses the debates touching on Rousseau's understandings of gender, justice, freedom, group, and equality. She additionally examines how Rousseau's political ideas provide upward thrust to more than a few vital modern questions concerning households, voters, and communities.This new, extra whole photograph of Rousseau's paintings will problem students and scholars of philosophy, politics, and women's stories to examine, and comprehend, Rousseau in an entire new method. Penny A. Weiss addresses the plain male/female contradictions that run in the course of the paintings of the eighteenth-century thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau. She argues that Rousseau's safeguard of sexual differentiation is predicated at the contribution he perceives it may possibly make to the institution of neighborhood, now not on an attract a few model of traditional intercourse changes. Weiss convincingly demonstrates that Rousseau's political method is eventually unworkable, undermining the very group it was once intended to set up.

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If Emile's training furthers his independence and flexibility, Sophie's seems to render her dependent and unprepared in the face of change. What if her husband, on whom she appears to be economically dependent, dies, is temporarily or permanently disabled, or cannot sell his labor or products at all or at a price sufficient to support his family? Perhaps Rousseau does not consider it necessary to teach Sophie a flexible trade, since her fortune and position will always depend directly on that of a man, and only indirectly on political conditions.

The Second Discourse demonstrates that human nature is almost infinitely malleable, affected by forces ranging from the climatic and economic to the educational and legal; yet Rousseau seems to treat the sexes as radically different by nature. And while so often characterized as an egalitarian and liberal thinker, Rousseau seems to subordinate women to the rule of men and to leave women few avenues for individual development or self-expression. Those searching for consistency in his thought thus find no small hurdle in his remarks on the roles and relations of the sexes, and those searching the history of philosophy for treatment of women as equal to men or as full citizens would seem well advised to look elsewhere.

You trust in the present order of society without thinking that this order is subject to inevitable revolutions. . Are the blows of fate so rare that you can count on being exempted from them? (Emile, 194) Rousseau is attacking both class-specific and apprentice education. The former leaves one unprepared to meet the challenges presented by social and political changes. The antiaristocratic Rousseau finds this especially true among the wealthy. A narrow apprentice education is rejected for neglecting the person qua person in its quest for education of the person qua artisan.

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