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On the Happiness of the Philosophic LifeReflections on Rousseau's Rêveries in Two Books$
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Heinrich Meier

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226074030

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226074177.001.0001

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The Philosopher among Nonphilosophers

The Philosopher among Nonphilosophers

(p.3) Chapter 1 The Philosopher among Nonphilosophers
On the Happiness of the Philosophic Life

Heinrich Meier

, Robert Berman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter offers reflections on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Les rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire. It examines the title, which combines all three types of titles that Rousseau has employed for books to that point: the naming of the subject, a literary figure or a topic; the genre; and an activity. It argues that the title highlights the tension that pervades the rhetoric of the entire book, and that Rousseau chooses the word rêveries to point to and to divert attention away from the activity central to the philosophic life. It also analyzes the connection between solitude and méditation and the appearance of nature in the book. Finally, it discusses Rousseau's conversations with “the Frenchman” in the Dialogues.

Keywords:   rêveries, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire, activity, méditation, rhetoric, philosophic life, solitude, Frenchman, Dialogues

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