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THE PLATONIC SOUL OF THE REVERIES: THE ROLE OF SOLITUDE IN ROUSSEAU'S DEMOCRATIC POLITICS

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Abstract:

Rousseau's Reveries of a Solitary Walker is enigmatic. It reveals many influences and addresses even more themes. For these reasons and others, political theorists have tended to ignore it in favour of his more overtly political works. Yet to dismiss his last work is to neglect what might be a useful tool in unlocking his political theory. This article argues that the Reveries confirm what many have recently suggested-- that Rousseau is a Platonist in many important respects. Further, it holds that his particular brand of Platonism as espoused in the Reveries provides essential epistemic information necessary to carry out his democratic politics--indeed, one far more democratic than Plato's, yet consistent with a Platonic metaphysics.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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