The Natural Goodness of Man: On the System of Rousseau's Thought

The Natural Goodness of Man: On the System of Rousseau's Thought

Arthur M. Melzer, "The Natural Goodness of Man: On the System of Rousseau's Thought"
English | ISBN: 0226519783, 0226519791 | 1990 | 328 pages | PDF | 5 MB

An artistic analogy--that of an old painting's restoration--best describes Melzer's excellent analysis and study of one of Rousseau's key ideas: his belief in the natural goodness of Man. By systematically eliminating and disputing misinterpretations, glosses, and distortions, Melzer reveals Rousseau's original historical and intellectual palette. Gone are 19th-century opinions and contemporary Freudian and Marxist theories. Rousseau's paradoxes and contradictions become clear; as Melzer concludes, Rousseau's views on human nature, religion, justice, and politics are far too narrow and skeptical if placed in the context of a social system. Melzer supports his study by referring to a large body of scholarship (a puzzling omission: Konrad Lorenz's Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins ). Lucid, succinct, well organized, and convincing, this book is a solid contribution to the study of Rousseau.


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