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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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(p.135) Chapter 5 Politics
On the Happiness of the Philosophic Life

Heinrich Meier

, Robert Berman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the significance of politics in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's life. Persecution drives Rousseau to St. Peter's Island and also off it, and circumscribes the episode he chooses in order to treat supreme felicity in Les rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire. The Beisichselbstsein of the Promeneur Solitaire is encircled by politics, which in turn surrounds Rousseau's Beisichselbstsein on all sides in the medium of its depiction. This chapter shows how the Beisichselbstsein, around which the Cinquième promenade circles, provides the basis for the attitude the contemplatif solitaire adopts toward politics. It also considers the political presentation of Rousseau's self-sufficiency in the fith walk, the fundamental determination of his relationship to politics, and his reflection on the necessities of sociability. Finally, it discusses Rousseau's investigation of lying and his claim that whoever praises or blames contrary to the truth lies, insofar as what he praises or blames is a “real person”.

Keywords:   politics, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, supreme felicity, Les rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire, Beisichselbstsein, Cinquième promenade, self-sufficiency, sociability, lying, truth

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