Download Abandoned to Ourselves: Being an Essay on the Emergence and by Peter Alexander Meyers PDF

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By Peter Alexander Meyers

During this outstanding paintings, Peter Alexander Meyers exhibits how the center-piece of the Enlightenment—society because the image of collective human existence and because the basic area of human practice—was essentially composed and lively by way of its such a lot ambivalent determine: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. exhibiting this new society as an evolving box of interdependence, deserted to Ourselves strains the emergence and ethical value of dependence itself inside of Rousseau's encounters with numerous discourses of order, together with theology, ordinary philosophy, and tune. Underpinning this complete scene we find a modernizing belief of the human Will, person who runs some distance deeper than Rousseau's most famed trope, the "general Will." As deserted to Ourselves weaves jointly old acuity with theoretical perception, readers will locate right here components for a reconstructed sociology along with issues and folks and, for that reason, a brand new beginning for modern political conception.

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Extra resources for Abandoned to Ourselves: Being an Essay on the Emergence and Implications of Sociology in the Writings of Mr. Jean-Jacques Rousseau...

Example text

Christian ambition to serve a God who transcended any particular civic allegiance (despite the complications introduced by the Christianization of the Roman Empire) threatened the comfortable links between individual and civic ambition. For many Christians, at least, the desire to secure individual salvation came into tension with the desire to serve the worldly interests of one’s city, a fundamental tension which grand theories such as those of St Augustine could manage but not entirely resolve.

The Spartan mother’s model of austere self-denial and dedication to the common good was viewed by many as the way to achieve the highest form of polity: a republic sustained by the virtue of its citizens in contrast to regimes dependent on coercion and subordination. As Constant observed, the paradox of these regimes was that the citizen was powerful in his civic capacity, but socially constrained as an individual by that very common power in which he participated. As a citizen, one wielded collective power; but as a private person, one was at the mercy of that same power.

Rather than condemning our desires for consumption altogether – which will probably be fruitless – the question is whether we can be smarter about how we control them, limit them, and satisfy them. Ancient ethics can re-enlighten the Enlightenment values of capitalism. They can help us act more intelligently: virtue as making appetites smarter and more self-disciplined, self-interest as genuinely enlightened, leading to a transformation of one’s understanding of one’s self and one’s interest, rather than simply as a callow slogan.

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