Instinct and Intimacy
Political Philosophy and Autobiography in Rousseau
AUTHOR: Ogrodnick, Margaret
PUBLISHER: University of Toronto Press
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Drawing on his autobiographies, Margaret Ogrodnick analyses Jean-Jacques Rousseau's role as a theorist of the modern self, tracing the implications of his political thought. In elucidating the corresponding images in his autobiographical and philosophical works, the book attends especially to the hidden and intimate dimensions of the self. As a psychoanalytic thinker, Rousseau propounds the internal retrieval of instincts as the psychological basis of his democratic republic. As a philosopher of intimacy, he stresses the importance of intimate relations and private sentiments in building community bonds.
Themes of "instinct" and "intimacy" are explicated through considering his simultaneous reflection and transcendence of three psycho-cultural dichotomies: masculine and feminine, separation and oneness, and good and evil. In keeping with Rousseau's insistence on the unity of his person and his philosophy, these larger dichotomies are illuminated by uncovering the personal origins of his philosophy through his autobiographies. By analysing how the totality of his psyche imprints on his philosophy, this study traces the role of his powerful, primordial vision in establishing his deep political engagement, individualism, and democratic commitment.
PUBLICATION DATE: 7/31/1999
CATEGORY: Biography & Autobiography, Literary Criticism, Philosophy