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13 - Rousseau’s Unease with Locke’s Uneasiness

from Part V - Unease, Happiness, and Death

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2013

Eve Grace
Affiliation:
Colorado College
Christopher Kelly
Affiliation:
Boston College, Massachusetts
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Summary

This chapter explores Jean-Jacques Rousseau's psychological theory in light of a central component of John Lockean psychology, uneasiness, and examines the constructive possibilities he sees for human happiness. To understand Locke's discussion of uneasiness, it is therefore important to note that his account of pleasure and pain is concerned with specifically human phenomena. The possibilities of happiness in Rousseau are intimated by the two respects in which one has seen him diverge from Locke's psychology of uneasiness: with regard to the extent of human passions, and with regard to the lack of innate self-consciousness. The path toward happiness surveyed by Rousseau entails maintaining a proportion between one's desires and the faculties one has to fulfill them. This path is sketched in Emile, and it can be understood in part as an imitation of the original state of the human psyche as Rousseau portrays it in the Discourse on Inequality.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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