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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.178) Chapter 6 Love
On the Happiness of the Philosophic Life

Heinrich Meier

, Robert Berman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the significance of love in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's reflection on his œuvre and the philosophic life as a whole. The philosophic life is supported by love of the truth, love of knowledge, and love of learning. It is nourished by the loving turn to the world and presupposes a “loving soul,” which knows how to find its “inner delights” in contemplation. This chapter considers how Rousseau's being alone is related to his love, focusing on his presentation of himself at the outset of Les rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire as “the most sociable and most loving of humans.” It also explores whether Rousseau, who writes the Rêveries for himself as a future friend, is able to be a friend only to himself. It argues that the experience of Rousseau's capacity for love, the knowledge of his power, the consciousness of being able to say yes to life, was the basis for his inner independence and his confidence in himself.

Keywords:   love, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosophic life, truth, knowledge, learning, loving soul, contemplation, Les rêveries du Promeneur Solitaire

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