Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau, pastel by Maurice Quentin de La Tour , 1753

Jean-Jacques Rousseau [ ʒɑ̃'ʒak ʁu'so ] (born June 28, 1712 in Geneva , † July 2, 1778 in Ermenonville near Paris ) was a Geneva writer , philosopher , educator , naturalist and composer of the Enlightenment . Rousseau was a major influence on pedagogy and political theory in the late 18th, 19th and 20th centuries across Europe. He was an important pioneer of the French Revolution . His work is an integral part of French and European literary and intellectual history . The call, often - but incorrectly - attributed to him, “ Back to nature! “Has shaped many scientists and triggered later counter-movements to industrialization.

Life and work


Rousseau's father Isaac lived from 1672 to 1748 and was a watchmaker and researcher whose Protestant ancestors had emigrated from France to the then independent city ​​republic of Geneva for reasons of faith .

From 1705 to 1711 Isaac Rousseau lived in Constantinople , where he repaired Geneva clocks as the sultan's clockmaker at the Serail (the palace of the Ottoman ruler). His cousin Jacques Rousseau (1683–1753, father of the French orientalist Jean-François Xavier Rousseau ), followed him from Geneva to Constantinople as court jeweler.

Rousseau's mother Suzanne Bernard (1673–1712) was the daughter of a Geneva pastor. The couple lived in their father's house in central Geneva when Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born .


Birthplace of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the old town of Geneva

The mother died in Geneva in 1712, nine days after Rousseau's birth - probably of puerperal fever . As a result, a younger sister of the father took over the household. She lovingly cared for the often ailing and sensitive child who had suffered from an organic bladder defect since birth . This prolonged physical strain is often seen as one of the reasons for the sensitive irritability that characterized Rousseau throughout his life.

The father encouraged his son's love of reading from an early age by reading with him all night long , including Plutarch's biographies , which were Rousseau's lifelong favorite reading material . In 1718 father and son moved to the poorer artisan district of St. Gervais on the other side of the Rhone .

In 1722, the ten-year-old's situation changed drastically. After a scuffle with an officer, in the course of which he had stabbed him with a sword, the father fled Geneva from imminent prison sentence. He left the son in the care of his brother-in-law, Gabriel Bernard. For the next two years, Rousseau lived with Pastor Lambercier in Bossey ( Vaud ), where he received instruction but suffered unjust punishment and physical abuse . The same thing happened to him later during a stay with an aunt on his father's side. At the age of twelve he started his apprenticeship with a clerk by the name of Masseron (a stay that ended shamefully for Rousseau), and a year later with an engraver named Abel Ducommun. He took more pleasure in the latter activity than in the previous one; However, the desire to read and daydreams made friendships difficult among peers and repeatedly led to punishments. In 1726 Rousseau's father married a second time (the marriage took place in his refuge Nyon ); since then he has shown little interest in the boy.


Madame de Warens

When Rousseau found the city gate locked on his late return from a Sunday excursion in March 1728, which had already happened twice before and had earned him a flogging sentence, he followed an idea that had been cherished for a long time and went on a hike. After a few days in Savoy , he met a Catholic clergyman who put him in contact with Madame de Warens in Annecy . She had just emigrated from Switzerland to Savoy and became a Catholic; in Annecy she lived under the protection (and observation) of the Catholic clergy. Madame de Warens took Rousseau in, but on the advice of the Church, sent him to Turin three days later . There he was baptized a Catholic in the Hospice des catéchumènes after quarterly instruction . He made the trip there on foot, accompanied by a couple of farmers. He earned his living in Turin as a servant and later as a secretary in noble houses.

A year later he returned to Madame de Warens. Following her suggestion, he entered the Annecy seminary for a short period. She then referred him to the director of the cathedral music school, as she had noticed him as a talented singer during the house music lessons. The headmaster took him in and taught him choral singing and the flute. Several fruitful months followed, during which Rousseau acquired the basics of his musical knowledge.

When his teacher took up a new position in Lyon, Rousseau initially accompanied him, but then returned to Annecy. However, since Madame de Warens had traveled to Paris, Rousseau went traveling again. It took him to Lausanne , Nyon (where he also visited his father), to Neuchâtel in Prussia and, in the summer of 1731, to Paris for the first time . In Neuchâtel he tried unsuccessfully as a music teacher. During his wanderings, Rousseau repeatedly suffered great poverty. She forced him to beg, but also brought him into contact with the needy peasants.

On April 3, 1731 met Rousseau on a walk in Boudry an Italian speaking man "with a big black beard and a violet-colored robe Greek style" which noted as "Greek Catholic prelate , and Archimandrite of Jerusalem " in Europe means for the Gathering restoration of the Holy Tomb in Jerusalem. Rousseau was persuaded to accompany the supposed "Archimandrite" as secretary and interpreter. They first collected money in Freiburg and Bern and then traveled on to Solothurn to see the French ambassador. This was the Marquis Jean-Louis d'Usson de Bonnac (1672-1738), who had previously been ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and exposed the alleged prelate and Archimandrite as a swindler. Since Rousseau had made a good impression on the Marquis de Bonnac, he was able to stay at the residence for a few days and then travel to Paris with letters of recommendation and a hundred francs travel money.

Rousseau preserved himself in Paris by entering the service of a young Swiss. But after he learned that Madame de Warens was again in Savoy, this time in Chambéry , he returned to his “ Maman ”, as he called her, thirteen years older than him. She took him in like a foster son and gave him a clerk's position in the land registry , which he gave up after eight months in 1732 to work as a music teacher.

Five happy years followed, which were very important for his almost entirely autodidactic education. He read, made music, experimented and began to write. The hostess introduced the initially reluctant to the art of love, but had another lover besides Rousseau with Claude Anet, who was employed as a factotum for her . In 1735 Madame de Warens leased the Les Charmettes estate, located just outside Chambéry . For Rousseau, this place embodied the “ideal of an orderly and happy life” for the next three years.

In the summer of 1736 he suffered an eye injury from an explosion during chemical experiments, which is why he went to see a doctor in Montpellier that autumn . When he returned in early 1738, Madame de Warens had started a relationship with her new secretary and property manager Jean-Samuel-Rodolphe Wintzenried. Although she offered Rousseau a new love triangle, he refused. Nevertheless, he stayed with her for another two years until, in the spring of 1740, he took a position as tutor with the Mably family in Lyon .

After returning to Les Charmettes in the spring of 1741 , he traveled to Paris in the summer of 1742 to have a number-based grading system that he had developed patented by the Académie des sciences . He was allowed to present it there, received a certificate and in early 1743 had his presentation published as a dissertation sur la musique moderne (treatise on modern music) in print. He also got to know the composer Jean-Philippe Rameau , who praised Rousseau's system for its intrinsic accuracy, but at the same time asserted that it was inferior to the more abstract notation that illustrates the course of the melody. Otherwise, Rousseau's notation system did not establish itself .

After all, he got access to Madame Dupin's famous literary salon and got to know leading figures in the city. He also began to compose the opera Les Muses galantes . In the summer of 1743 he traveled to Venice , where he worked for the new French ambassador as a legation secretary. However, Rousseau fell out with his master and returned to Paris in autumn 1744.


Title page of Rousseau's Discours sur les Sciences et les Arts , 1750

In Paris in 1745 Rousseau made the acquaintance of various patrons , such as that of Alexandre Le Riche de La Pouplinière , with whose help he had his completed opera Les Muses galantes performed. Above all, he made contacts with other young intellectuals, including Denis Diderot , Étienne Bonnot de Condillac and Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert , the editors of the Encyclopédie initiated by Diderot in 1746 . Further literary attempts followed, for example he wrote: B. 1747 the comedy L'Engagement téméraire . His existence was determined by great material uncertainty throughout his life.

Also in 1745 he began a steady relationship with the laundress Thérèse Levasseur (1721–1801), who gave birth to her first child the following year. Rousseau, who himself became a half-orphan at an early age , urged Thérèse to put the child in an institution for " foundlings " ( Enfants trouvés ) . The four children born later also disappeared in orphanages . Although life expectancy was low there, this was not uncommon at the time. To this day, Rousseau's paternal behavior is raised as the most serious objection to his personality; even back then, for example from Voltaire . In particular, Rousseau's credibility as an educational theorist is questioned from here. Rousseau himself gave a whole series of excuses: “If I had left them to the wife of Epinay or the wife of Luxembourg, who later wanted to accept them out of friendship, out of generosity or for some other reason, they would be been brought up to be well-behaved and educated? I dont know; but I am convinced that they would have been driven to hate, perhaps to betray, their parents; it's a hundred times better that they didn't even know her. ”His most important argument was that his work was poorly paid or not paid at all, which is why Thérèse had largely to pay for the two of them alone and could not burden himself with children .

1749 was a crucial year for Rousseau. At the beginning of the year d'Alembert commissioned him to write musicological articles for the Encyclopédie . In autumn he visited Diderot, imprisoned in the Donjon of Vincennes , and on the way read the Académie von Dijon prize question in the magazine Mercure de France : Le Rétablissement des sciences et des arts at-il contribué à épurer les mœurs? ("Did the restoration of the sciences and arts help to purify morals?"). In his Discours sur les Sciences et les Arts (Treatise on the Sciences and the Arts) he clearly denied the question that - as he later explained in his state-theoretical treatise Du contrat social - humans live independently and freely in the natural state in which A society based on conventions, however, is a shackled slave: "Man is born free and is in chains everywhere." The arts and sciences only obscure the fate of modern man, the history of civilization becomes, as in his other philosophical writings, a history of decline ( la dépravation ). He saw contemporary European society, striving for luxury, slipping into moral decadence. Although the Discours ran counter to the ideas of many intellectuals of the time, it met with interest from others. Rousseau received first prize in 1750 and, thanks in part to the discussion he sparked, became known throughout Europe overnight. His income rose and he was able to move into a flat with Thérèse. However, in 1751 the couple also gave a third newborn to the foundling house.

At the end of 1752, his opera Le devin du village (“The Village Fortune Teller”) was first performed in front of the court and in 1753 also in Paris. When Rousseau was about to be introduced to the king, he withdrew from the honor and thus possibly missed the allocation of an annual pension. After the success of Devin , the Théâtre Français also accepted his comedy Narcisse , a youth work.

Difficulties beginning

Instead of establishing himself, Rousseau now even went into a kind of fundamental opposition, since with his opera in the Buffonist dispute he stood there as the savior of the conservative French party, which he definitely did not want. In 1754 he started a second critical price publication (see below). In addition, he aroused the anger not only of the opera orchestra (which hanged a Rousseau doll) with his Lettre sur la musique française , in which he belittled the French style of music in favor of the Italian. In 1754 he traveled to Geneva (with a stopover at Madame de Warens), took on the citizenship of the Geneva Republic again and returned to Protestantism.

In 1755, as a precaution in Amsterdam , he published his Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes ( Treatise on the origin and foundations of inequality among people ), which in turn was the answer to a prize question from the Académie de Dijon was: Source est l'origine de l'inégalité parmi les hommes, et est-elle autorisée par la loi naturelle? ("What is the origin of inequality among people, and can it be derived from natural law?"). Rousseau, the poor petty bourgeois, explains the social inequality here, first of all from the historical fact of the socialization of man - whereby everyone compares himself with everyone and envy and resentment arise - then from the establishment of private property: the first to fence in a piece of land and it occurred to me to say: This is mine, and who found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society .

As a result, Rousseau explains the social inequality from the development of the division of labor and the appropriation of the proceeds of the labor of many by a few who subsequently organize authoritarian states in order to protect their property. With this truly revolutionary work, Rousseau became one of the founders of European socialism .


In early 1756 he turned down the post of librarian that the city of Geneva had offered him. Instead, he moved to Montmorency north of Paris as a guest of the versatile, self-authoring Madame d'Épinay, a friend of Diderot. He was at odds with this and the circle of philosophes around him, however, in 1758 when he responded to the critical article "Geneva" that d'Alembert had written for the Encyclopédie , with the Lettre à d'Alembert sur les spectacles , in which he, the former playwright denounced the theater, this favorite child of the Enlightenment, as useless and potentially immoral.

Title page of the first edition, Amsterdam, 1762

From April 1756 to December 1757 he found refuge in a hermitage not far from the castle of Madame Louise d'Épinay, the Château de la Chevrette in Deuil-la-Barre .

Then, until June 8, 1762, he found accommodation with the Marshal of Montmorency-Luxembourg, Charles François II. De Montmorency-Luxembourg (1702–1764) and with his wife Madeleine Angélique de Neufville , who organized social salons.

In Montmorency, where he rented a house in 1758 and was temporarily a guest of the noble Duc de Luxembourg, he wrote his most successful and effective works among his contemporaries within just under six years: first, the sensitive epistolary novel Julie or Die neue Heloise (1756-1758, published 1761), which depicts the ultimately impossible love of the bourgeois intellectual Saint-Preux for the noble Julie d'Étanges and was partly inspired by Rousseau's passion for Madame d'Épinay's sister-in-law , Madame d'Houdetot ; Second, the Bildungsroman Émile (1759–1761, published 1762), in which he advocates, on the one hand, letting children live through their childhood and keeping them away from corrupting feudal social influences (negative and natural upbringing) and, on the other hand, instructing them to understand the laws of nature based on selected ones To discover teaching-learning scenes for oneself and to experience the structures, values ​​and norms of society in a society based on the division of labor together with one's mentor and to consider this in conversation - the Savoy Vicar's creed is an example (critical socialization); Finally, thirdly, the state-theoretical work Du contract social ou Principes du droit politique ( From the social contract or principles of state law , 1760/1761, published 1762), which defines and justifies the rights of individuals against the state, but also its claims against individuals tried and shaped the concept of popular sovereignty , which is so important today, on which the legitimacy of referendums and general elections is based.

While Julie or Die neue Heloise was a great success immediately after its publication in early 1761 and triggered a wave of letter novels across Europe (including Goethe's Werther ), the Contrat social was banned after its publication in April 1762, as was Émile when it was at the end of May appeared. The Sorbonne condemned the book in early June, the Parlement of Paris banned it a few days later and issued an arrest warrant for the author. The stumbling block was above all the profession de foi du vicaire savoyard ("Creed of the Savoyard Vicar") contained in the Émile in Book 4 as an insert . In this text Rousseau first presents a philosophy of knowledge and morality in which the position of one's own heart or conscience plays a dominant role. This is followed by the draft of a "natural religion", combined with a sharp criticism of any religion based on revelation (including Christianity). In addition to the French authorities, including the Archbishop of Paris Christophe de Beaumont , the Calvinist superiors in Geneva in particular were indignant. They banned the book in July and also issued an arrest warrant for its author. Copies of the Émile were burned in Geneva as in Paris, and in Geneva also of the articles of association .

Renewed hiking life

Manuscript page from Deux Lettres à M. le Mareschal Duc de Luxembourg contenant une description du Val-de-Travers , Môtiers 1763
Rousseau in Armenian costume

Rousseau, who fled immediately, was accepted by his friend, Daniël Roguin , in Yverdon , but was quickly expelled. In July he turned to Frederick the Great through Governor Keith of the then Prussian exclave Neuchâtel / Neuchâtel , who granted him asylum and, a little later, even citizenship. Rousseau settled in the small town of Môtiers in Neuchâtel , where he caught up with Thérèse and where he began to dress as an Armenian . Even before the end of 1762, Rousseau's first defense, an open letter to the Archbishop of Paris, who had also condemned Émile in August .

At the beginning of 1763 in Môtiers he completed his Dictionnaire de la musique , which he had probably begun in Montmorency . In 1764 he began botanical studies.

In 1765 Rousseau lived from September 12th to October 25th on St. Petersinsel in Lake Biel , which, as he confesses, was the happiest months of his existence. He withdrew into nature, looked for solitude on the island, began to understand its plants and wrote a Flora Petrinsularis; at the same time celebrities from all over Europe visited him there. The Bernese Secret Council expelled him.

At the end of 1765 he also felt unwelcome and persecuted in Môtiers, not least perhaps because he had started to dress as an Armenian. He therefore accepted an invitation from the philosopher David Hume and had a transit passport for France issued. On the way he could see that he had sympathizers too. During a stay in Strasbourg he was honored with a performance of the Devin de village , in Paris he was a guest of the Prince de Conti and received visits to his house.

Rousseau in England, portrait by Allan Ramsay , 1766

He spent most of the year 1766 and the first half of 1767 in England, initially with Hume, with whom he fell out and who attacked him. After all, he found sympathizers in England too. B. persuaded the king to grant him a pension. In 1767 and 1768 he lived in various places in France, including a castle in Conti. Since the arrest warrant of the Paris parliament was not overturned, he traveled under an alias and passed Thérèse off as his sister. In 1769 and 1770 they lived on a mountain farm in Dauphiné in southeast France after they got married there in August 1768.

From 1763 Rousseau wrote a whole series of shorter and longer autobiographical texts, including his Confessions ( The Confessions ), written from 1765–1770 and later published, which were only published posthumously. In it he also describes intimate details from his life as well as his own transgressions. This writing in particular established the sub-genre of the "self-exposing" autobiography. He chose the title based on that of the Confession of Augustine of Hippo .

In the spring of 1770 he left his mountain farm for Paris. During a stay in Lyon, the head of the merchants had his Devin and his lyrical small drama Pygmalion performed in his honor , in which he was apparently the first in the history of this subject to allow the artist to revive his work of art without divine help. From June he lived again, withdrawn and tolerated by the authorities, with Thérèse in Paris. He was invited to readings from time to time and, as his ideas spread, admirers gathered around him, including from 1771 the later well-known author Bernardin de Saint-Pierre .

Since around 1762, Rousseau was no longer able to cope with the nervous strain due to the numerous denigrations and persecutions. His fears and defensive actions sometimes took on delusional features .

The last few years

Rousseau in Ermenonville in June 1778
Île des peupliers ("Island of Poplars") with Rousseau's tomb
Thérèse Levasseur, Rousseau's widow, in front of the poplar island. After a sepia drawing by Caroline Naudet

From 1772–1775, Rousseau wrote the autobiographical dialogue Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques . In 1774 he published his Dictionnaire des termes d'usage en botanique . 1776-1778 he wrote his last longer work, held in lyrical prose Rêveries du promeneur solitaire ( Reveries of the Solitary Walker ) that make up also new kind present moments to the starting point of autobiographical flashbacks, with her capturing moods of nature as a preparation of romance apply .

In May 1778 he accepted an invitation from the Marquis René Louis de Girardin to his palace in Ermenonville . When he felt death coming, he talked about it frankly and without hesitation to his wife, and when she burst into tears he said: "Why are you crying? It is my happiness, I am dying in peace. I did not want to hurt anyone and count on the grace of God ". He opened the window, looked into the beautiful day and said: "How pure and lovely the sky is, not a cloud cloud it. I hope the Almighty takes me up there to him."

He died a little later in Ermenonville, probably from a stroke. He was buried on the Île des Peupliers ("Island of Poplars") in the castle park, today's Parc Jean-Jacques Rousseau . His widow Thérèse lived in the house intended for him for about a year.

Two months after the fall of Robespierre, on October 11, 1794, the National Convention had Rousseau's remains triumphantly transferred to the Panthéon in Paris . The ceremony initiated by the Thermidorians was perceived as anti-Jacobin and anti-terrorist.

Rousseau's grave from 1794 in the Panthéon, Paris

Between 1780 and 1788, Pierre-Alexandre Du Peyrou (1729–1794) published the complete works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, together with the Marquis René Louis de Girardin, on whose estate Rousseau had lived in Ermenonville in recent years, and the preacher Paul Moultou (1731-1797).

Pierre Alexandre Du Peyrou (1729–1794), a wealthy citizen of Neuchâtel and editor of the complete works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
René Louis Girardin (1735–1808), co-editor of the complete works

Music and theater

With pieces he wrote and set to music himself, Rousseau initiated two of the most important “bourgeois” theater genres of the 19th century: with the intermezzo Le devin du village (1752), supported by journalism through his Lettre sur la musique française (1753 ), he founded the Opéra comique , and with his melodrama Pygmalion (1770, music by Coignet) he created the theater melodrama . His music lexicon Dictionnaire de musique (1767) also made him one of the most cited aesthetes of the 18th century.

His opera ( interméde ) Le devin du village (1752), whose subject and libretto was later also used by Mozart (1768), which was successful throughout Europe , set an antipole to the success of the popular Italian interlude in Paris in the dispute over the priority of the French or of Italian music. Nevertheless, he took a position for Italian music in the so-called Buffonist dispute with the Lettre sur la musique française published at the end of November 1753 , i.e. H. their conception of harmony. The aim of his criticism, which u. a. Arguing with the qualities of the Italian language and the better unity of the melody, French opera - especially the tragédie lyrique - was represented by the Parisian composer Jean-Philippe Rameau , although Rousseau had previously benefited greatly from his publications on harmony.

Rousseau's worldview and philosophy

As first explained in 1749 in the Discours sur les Sciences et les Arts ("Treatise on the Sciences and the Arts"), in contrast to most of the enlightenment thinkers , Rousseau viewed human history as a process of decline that was politically, educational and practical Radically new thinking and acting required. What distinguished Rousseau from contemporary thinkers of history like Turgot and Condorcet , who by no means denied the negative downsides of progress , was the fact that he did not regard such side effects as secondary consequences, but rather the perfectibility - i.e. the ability to empower oneself - and human reason blamed themselves for having produced the opposite of their good intentions, as it were.

Image of man

The starting point of Rousseau's thinking is the disgust for the established culture and society of his time. He emphasizes that people living in civilized societies are selfish, untruthful and vain. Rousseau sees the reason in the historical fact of the socialization of human beings, which seduces individuals into comparing themselves with one another, resulting in envy and resentment, malicious glee and defrauding, more appearance than existence and conflicts of interest, which led the citizens socialized in this way to their own to hide true intentions from each other. The undeniable natural inequality thereby exacerbates into political and social inequality.

“People are bad; a sad and persistent experience needless to say; however, man is naturally good, I believe I have shown it; […] Admire human society as much as one will, it will therefore be no less true that it necessarily leads people to hate each other to the extent that their interests intersect, and to render apparent service to one another and in reality to inflict all imaginable evils. "

- Treatise on the origin and foundations of inequality among people (Reclam, 1998, p. 115 ff., Note IX)

Rousseau not only criticizes the society of his time, but also a socialization that alienates people from their true essence. This is in stark contrast to the thinking of his time: his theories were rejected by representatives of the Christian churches as well as by many enlightenment thinkers . The Christian churches considered the idea of ​​the “ noble savage ” to be absurd; for them man was not naturally good, but rather burdened by original sin . The Enlightenment, on the other hand, regarded people's ability to learn, reason and socialize as prerequisites and guarantors of a history of progress.

If man were a being capable of community ( ancient Greek ζῷον πολιτικόν zóon politikón ), as Aristotle taught, then joyful harmony should actually determine how people live together. Since that is not the case - people hate, cheat, slander, lie and murder one another - Rousseau concludes that only in small, natural communities do people have the chance to develop their originally "good" nature appropriately. Their ability to perfect - enhanced by culture - leads people on the path of civilizational progress, which, however, removes them from their original unity with a natural existence and thus alienates them from their own original nature.

In the hypothetical state of nature, the only human instinct is self-love ( amour de soi ) . She commands him: “Take care of your well-being with the least possible harm to others” (second discourse). In addition to self-love, nature humans know pity ( pitié ) , a species feeling that Rousseau believes animals also know. All other human faculties still rest, that is, reason, imagination and conscience . In a natural state, humans resemble a wild animal that only circles around itself. Being good is not bravery in the moral sense, but rather in the sense of “naturally obeying”, naturally living.

However, due to external circumstances, for example to ward off natural disasters , people feel compelled to connect with other species to form large communities. This is how culture and society emerge and evil comes into the world. In this context, the power of imagination is of great importance, by means of which the individual awakens from his natural narcissistic slumber and can empathize with other beings. But it also enables individuals to be compared with one another. As a result, natural self-love ( amour de soi ) can turn into natural self-love or selfishness ( amour propre ) : People now see themselves primarily through the eyes of others. As a passionate fighter for social status, he always wants to take first place. In addition, he feels an urgent desire that his neighbors prefer him to themselves. However, this is difficult to do because all other people are also driven by self-love. So it happens that people hide their real intentions. They pass off their self-interest as the general interest. The source of the evil is therefore the non-natural competitive thinking and the amour propre . In the state of society, reason , conscious compassion and "unnatural" moral reflection also awaken .

Rousseau's ethics are not based on reason. At best, this can help to distinguish between the advantageous and the disadvantageous. But instinct is required for man to act well . Rousseau uses the term Christian “conscience” and even speaks of an “innate love for what is good”. But as can be seen from his remarks in Émile , what is meant here is a basic emotional-empathic ability, a kind of moral instinct, which precedes any reflection. Someone who goes against their instincts is a deprived and unhappy person. Self-love almost urges us to act instinctively, since it demands the satisfaction of our needs. Rousseau's ethics are characterized by the fact that they do not set up generally applicable ethical rules, but rather show the interest of the individual in acting “well” and in the interests of the common good.

Rousseau expressly rules out a simple return to a natural state, even if many critics, above all Voltaire , have accused him of recommending it. In a letter to Rousseau, Voltaire mockingly writes:

“I have, sir, received your new book against the human species […] Nobody has undertaken it with more intellect to make us animals than you; reading her book makes one want to walk around on all fours. "

Rousseau rather asks how collective action that is guided by moral instinct can become possible in societies determined by competition. In doing so, he is not only concerned with the art of educating the individual, with pedagogy, but also with the desirable constitution of a state that is oriented towards the perfect, that is, ambiguous, nature of people, in order to show both times how the path from the first to second nature could go on without avoidable inconveniences. Rousseau's model of the social contract does not contain a chapter on education for the citizen, in which the relationship between civic action to secure individual wellbeing, socio-moral reflection and moral politics to justify the common good is discussed. In addition, Emil's upbringing and connection with Sophie fail, so that the connection between education and politics is at least constructed paradoxically, which is reflected in the secondary literature.

Political philosophy

See also Rousseau's main political work " On the social contract or principles of constitutional law "

In his texts on the theory of the state, Rousseau poses the question of how a naturally wild and free individual can retain his freedom when he enters the state of society from the state of nature or justifies this state. Rousseau assumes that people in their natural state live essentially independently of one another in small communities. They have sufficient goods and are peaceful. In particular, man is not addicted to philosophy and science, or to greed for luxury goods. In contrast to Hobbes , Rousseau paints a positive picture of people in a barely cultivated state that is close to animals. The genuinely human faculties, so v. a. on the other hand, he is critical of reason. He accuses other contract theorists of not remaining true to nature in their descriptions of prehistoric man and of having ascribed predominantly negative attributes to him.

Rousseau sees the introduction of private property as the cause of the loss of freedom and autonomy:

"[...] since people also began to look to the future, and everyone saw that they had some goods to lose, there was no one who could not retaliate for the injustice they could do to another had to fear himself. This origin is all the more natural in that it is impossible to grasp how the idea of ​​property could arise from anything other than manual labor; for one cannot see what man can contribute in order to appropriate the things that he did not create except for his work . Labor alone, which gives the farmer a right to the product of the field he tilled, consequently gives him a right to the land, at least until harvest, and so from year to year - which, since it creates uninterrupted possession , easily turned into property ... (It turns out) that the division of land has produced a new kind of right. That is, the right of property that is different from the right that results from the natural law. "

Rousseau sees the root of the origin of property in the common division of the common good :

“The first person to fence around a piece of land and think of saying 'This is mine' and find people simple enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders, how much misery and horror would the human race have been spared if someone had torn out the stakes and called out to his fellow men: "Be careful not to believe the deceiver; you are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to everyone, but the earth belongs to nobody. ""


“From the development of the land necessarily followed its division and from the property, once it was recognized, the first rules of justice. Because in order to give everyone their own, everyone must be able to have something. "

The emergence of property, says Rousseau, thus divides humanity into classes. Property reveals itself to be the cause of all social unhappiness. He writes about the emergence of an “all-consuming ambition”, “artificial passions” and the “addiction to make one's fortune at the expense of others”:

"[...] all these evils are the first effect of property and the inseparable wake of the arising inequality."

The emergence of the institution of property gives rise to the first social structures. Humans are no longer self-sufficient, but dependent on others; be it as master or as servant. In order to be able to follow his passions, the owner suppresses his servants. According to Rousseau, these are the “bad” social conditions that he criticized in his treatise on the social contract ( contrat social ) . These states are based on a contract that enables everyone to feel as free again as in the natural state. Rousseau differentiates between “natural independence” and “civil liberty”. In contrast to Montesquieu , he wanted the people to be included in all areas of politics and not just let them participate in one power (the legislature).

In Rousseau's view, every citizen subordinates himself voluntarily to a social contract for the purpose of a lawfully orderly social coexistence. Its basis is the common will , which is absolute and directed towards the good of the whole people. Each individual citizen is thus part of a religiously inflated and denominationally neutral state that carries out the general will and at the same time has total power over it.
The term citoyen has also established itself in German for this specific, political setting of the term citizen.

The state is empowered to pass laws which at any time express the inviolable will of the people as a whole. Rousseau uses the legislature to do this. If one only considers the work of Rousseau, which is genuinely described as political, the legislature is a controversial chapter in the social contract. For this it is necessary to also pay attention to the Émile , which can be read as an “educational guide” for the perfect legislator. This explains the otherwise inexplicable origin of the legislature.

Rousseau's theory of the general will represents an original and powerful attempt to deprive the feudalist royal and aristocratic rule of his time of the basis of legitimation. She influenced many other political theorists and philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries, so u. a. Immanuel Kant , who emphasized the unity of Rousseau's thought despite all apparent contradictions:

“In his work on the influence of the sciences and that on the inequality of human beings he shows quite correctly the inevitable conflict of culture with the nature of the human race, as a physical species [...]; but in his Emil , his social contracts , and other writings, he tries to solve the more difficult problem: how culture must go away in order to develop the disposition of mankind, as a moral species, according to its destiny, so that the latter as a natural species no longer argue. [...] until perfect art becomes nature again: as which is the ultimate goal of the moral determination of the human species. "

- Immanuel Kant : Probable beginning of human history (1786)

In addition to Voltaire , Rousseau is also considered one of the most important pioneers of the French Revolution. The most active exponent of the Jacobean reign of terror , Robespierre , was a great admirer of the writer.

However, it is questionable whether Rousseau is actually "to blame for everything", as Victor Hugo's famous dictum already suspected. Rousseau himself considered the dream of a republic in which state coercion serves to protect individual freedom to be illusory. His idea of ​​a free society is based on the premise that all citizens want the republican union and subordinate their private interests to the demands of the common good, the common will. In view of the contemporary situation, however, he considers such an optimistic image of the citizen to be illusory.

In the long term, his social contract had a strong impact on questions of political science , constitutional law and sociology .


In Rousseau's main educational work, Émile, or on upbringing , the fictional upbringing of a boy is described. The upbringing begins in childhood and ends with the marriage of Émiles at the age of 25. The pupil is largely shielded from potentially negative cultural influences in his childhood . Rousseau introduced the term natural and negative upbringing . Just as plant life grows on its own under the appropriate environmental conditions, the unspoiled nature of the child should also have the chance to develop by itself. A direct external influence on the development of the child should therefore be avoided until the judgment is complete. A significant part of the upbringing takes place in the great outdoors, where there are learning opportunities if you just wander there .

The main goal of Émile's youth, which Rousseau called “second childhood” for lack of a fitting term, was the formation of moral judgment. Although Rousseau repeatedly emphasizes the pupil's self-activity , who acquires everything useful through trial and error, the real art of education consists in influencing Émile through nondirective guidance to such an extent that his will coincides with that of the educator. This paradox characterizes Rousseau's pedagogy. To a certain extent, the educational work takes place “behind his back”. She concentrates on the staging of teaching-learning scenes (Volker Kraft) and accompanies the learning steps through encouragement and stimulating questions as well as patiently trying out. So it says in Émile or about education : “Follow the opposite path with your pupil. Always let him believe that he is the Master, but in reality be so himself. There is no more perfect submission than that to which one gives the semblance of freedom. In this way one even conquers one's will. ”A few pages before that, Rousseau risks his basic pedagogical rule:“ Do I dare to present the greatest, most important and most useful rule of any education here? It means: lose time and not win. "He immediately explains this apparent contradiction to the reader, who is perplexed by this rule:" The average person forgive me my paradoxes - you need them when you think about it. And whatever you may oppose me - I would rather be the man of paradoxes than that of prejudices. ”The person raised according to the principles of free self-development and at the same time socialized citizen is the basis for the one mentioned in the social contract ( from the social contract or principles of constitutional law ) Legislator.

Particularly noteworthy is Rousseau's attempt to justify educational action on the basis of language (Ladenthin). In doing so, he prepares views that understand all human thinking, cognition, design and action as modes of language ( Johann Georg Hamann , Johann Gottfried Herder , Wilhelm von Humboldt ).

Rousseau's theories influenced Immanuel Kant and many well-known educators, e.g. B. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi , Joachim Heinrich Campe , Adolph Diesterweg , Maria Montessori , Ellen Key , Hartmut von Hentig and Dietrich Benner .


  • Dissertation sur la musique moderne (“Treatise on modern music”), Paris 1743.
  • Discours sur les sciences et les arts . ("Treatise on the Sciences and Arts"), Paris 1750.
  • Narcisse ou l'Amant de lui-même (Eng. Narcissus or Who Loves Himself , Comedy), Paris (Comédie du Roi) 1752.
  • Le devin du village (Eng: the village fortune teller , Intermède in one act), Fontainebleau 1753.
  • Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes ( Treatise on the origins and foundations of inequality among people ), Amsterdam 1755.
  • Économie politique (article on “political economy”). In: Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. V. Band, Diderot, d'Alembert, 337-349, November 1755.
  • Principes du droit de la guerre. Ècrits sur la paix perpétuelle , 1758. (A text that was reconstructed from various fragments. Before that there were torn apart publications of the fragments in complete editions, whereby one fragment was probably not rediscovered until 1965. The date 1758 is the time at which Rousseau wrote the text wrote, not the time of publication, which apparently wasn't posthumous until the end of the 19th century .)
  • Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse ( Julie or The New Heloise ), Amsterdam 1761.
  • Du contrat social ou principes du droit politique ( On the social contract or principles of constitutional law ), Amsterdam 1762.
  • Émile ou de l'éducation ( Emile or on education ), Amsterdam 1762.
  • Dictionnaire de Musique , Paris 1768.
  • Les Confessions ( The Confessions , written 1765–1770), Geneva 1782 (first volume, books I – VI) and 1789 (second volume, books VII – XII).
  • Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire ( The dreams of the lonely walker , unfinished, written between 1776 and 1778), Lausanne 1782.


  • Dictionnaire de Musique . G. Olms, Hildesheim 1969 (reprint).
  • Lettres élémentaires sur la botanique (Ten botanical lesson letters for a friend) . 1978 (Insel-Taschenbuch 366).
  • Henning Ritter (Ed.): Writings . Hanser, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-446-12503-5 .
  • Heinrich Meier (ed.): Discourse on inequality . Schöningh, Paderborn 1984, ISBN 3-8252-0725-0 (critical edition of the integral text).
  • Dorothea Gülke (translator), Peter Gülke (translator): Music and language. Selected writings . Heinrichshofen, Wilhelmshaven 1984, ISBN 3-7959-0424-2 .
  • Kurt Weigand (Hrsg.): About art and science (1750): About the origin of inequality among people (1755) (=  writings on cultural criticism ). 5th edition. Meiner, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-7873-1200-5 (French: Discours sur les sciences et les arts. Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes . Translated by Kurt Weigand, bilingual).
  • Ralf Konersmann, Gesine Märtens (ed.): A treatise which won the prize at the Academy in Dijon in 1750 on the following question submitted by the Academy: whether the restoration of the sciences and arts contributed to the purification of morals? (=  Small archive of the eighteenth century ). Röhrig, St. Ingbert 1997, ISBN 3-86110-105-X (French: Discours sur les sciences et les arts . Translated by Johann Daniel Tietz, first German translation).
  • The new Daedalus ( Le nouveau Dédale , transl . By Klaus H. Fischer; therein: Klaus H. Fischer: "Rousseau's writing on aeronautics"). Schutterwald / Baden 2000, ISBN 3-928640-58-5 .
  • Blaise Bachofen, Celine Spector (ed.): Principes du droit de la guerre. Ècrits sur la paix perpétuelle. Vrin, Paris 2008, ISBN 978-2-7116-2141-5 (for this edition and interpretation of the text see M. Bloch under literature).

Selected literature


Lexicon entries

  • Herbert R. Ganalandt, Martin Carrier : Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In: Jürgen Mittelstraß , Gereon Wolters (ed.): Encyclopedia Philosophy and Philosophy of Science. 4 volumes, Mannheim, from volume 3 (1995), Stuttgart / Weimar (1980–1984–1996); corrected reprint for volumes 1 and 2, Stuttgart / Weimar: Metzler, 1995; Reprint Volume 1-4, ibid 2004, Volume 3, pp. 645-647. 2. rework. and much more supplementary edition in 2005.


  • Reinhard Bach: Rousseau and the Physiocrats. The history of political ideas in conceptual change between the Enlightenment and the revolution. Böhlau Verlag, Vienna Cologne Weimar 2018. ISBN 978-3-412-50019-1 .
  • Bronisław Baczko : Rousseau. Loneliness and community . Europa, Vienna 1970, ISBN 3-20-350008-6 (translated by Edda Werfel ), Baulino, Ulm 1984.
  • Dietrich Benner / Friedhelm Brüggen (1996): The concept of perfectibilité in Jean-Jacques Rousseau. An attempt to systematically and systematically read Rousseau's program of theoretical and practical judgment formation. In: Otto Hansmann: Seminar: The educational Rousseau. Volume II: Comments, Interpretations, History of Effects. Deutscher Studien Verlag, Weinheim, pp. 12–48.
  • Jörg Bockow: Education for Morality - On the relationship between practical philosophy and pedagogy in Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Bern / New York 1984, ISBN 3-8204-5598-1 .
  • Winfried Böhm , Frithjof Grell (ed.): Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the contradictions of the present . Ergon, Würzburg 1991, ISBN 3-928034-06-5 .
  • Rainer Bolle: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The principle of human perfection through education and the question of the connection between freedom, happiness and identity. Waxmann Verlag, Münster u. a., 3rd revised. and exp. 2012 edition.
  • Ernst Cassirer: The unity of the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Dinter, Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-924794-39-1 .
  • Ernst Cassirer , Jean Starobinski , Robert Darnton : Three Suggestions for Reading Rousseau. Fischer, Frankfurt 1989, ISBN 3-596-26569-X .
  • David Edmonds, John Eidinow: Rousseau's Dog. Two Great Thinkers at War in the Age of Enlightenment . HarperCollins (Ecco), New York 2006, ISBN 0-06-074490-1 . and Faber & Faber, London 2006, ISBN 0-571-22405-9 .
  • Nils Ehlers: The contradiction between man and citizen in Rousseau . Cuvillier, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-86537-306-2 .
  • Iring Fetscher : Rousseau's Political Philosophy . On the history of the democratic concept of freedom. 7th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-518-27743-X . (10th edition 2009).
  • Jean Firges : Julie or the New Héloïse. The genesis of bourgeois ideology . Sonnenberg, Annweiler 2004, ISBN 3-933264-36-7 . . (Exemplary series Literature and Philosophy, Vol. 18)
  • Klaus H. Fischer: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The sociological and legal philosophical foundations of his thinking . Scientific publishing house, Schutterwald / Baden 1991, ISBN 3-928640-00-3 .
  • Maximilian Forschner: Rousseau . Alber, Freiburg 1977, ISBN 3-495-47349-1 .
  • Jean Guéhenno : Jean-Jacques. Biography in three volumes, Paris 1948–1952.
  • Otto Hansmann: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). Series: Basic knowledge of pedagogy. Historical Pedagogy, Volume 1, ed. v. C. Lost / C. Ritzi. Schneider Verlag Hohengehren GmbH, Baltmannsweiler, 2002.
  • Otto Hansmann: About people. About education. To the citizen. Lectures on Rousseau's anthropology, pedagogy and state philosophy. Publishing house Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, 2012.
  • Otto Hansmann: Logic of Paradox. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's paradoxes in the field of tension between philosophy, education and politics. Publishing house Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2013.
  • Karlfriedrich Herb : Rousseau's theory of legitimate rule. Requirements and justifications . Königshausen and Neumann, Würzburg 1989.
  • Jean Chrétien Ferdinand Hoefer (Ed.): Nouvelle biography générale, depuis les temps les plus réculés jusqu'à nos jours . tape 42 . Diderot frères, Paris 1863, Sp. 737-766 .
  • Wolfgang Kersting : Jean-Jacques Rousseau's> Social Contract <. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt, 2002.
  • Volker Kraft: Rousseau's Emile. Text and study book. Klinkhardt Verlag, Bad Heilbrunn, 1993.
  • Volker Ladenthin: Language-critical pedagogy. Examples with a systematic intention. Volume 1: Rousseau - with a view of Thomasius, Sailer and Humboldt. Weinheim 1996.
  • Christiane Landgrebe: Back to nature? - The wild life of Jean-Jacques Rousseau . Beltz, Weinheim 2012, ISBN 978-3-407-22928-1 .
  • Jean Lechat: Discours sur les sciences et les arts. Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes. Rousseau. (Interpretations) Series Balises, Série Oeuvres # 91, Nathan, Paris 1994, ISBN 2-09-180758-3 .
  • Heinrich Meier: About the happiness of philosophical life. Reflections on Rousseau's Rêveries in two volumes. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-62287-8 .
  • André Niedostadek (ed.): Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Notes on a cross head. Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-8300-7293-5 .
  • Martin Oppelt: Dangerous Freedom: Rousseau, Lefort and the Origins of Radical Democracy (= Series Contemporary Discourses of Politics , Volume 13), Nomos, Baden-Baden 2017, ISBN 978-3-8487-2763-6 (Dissertation University of Augsburg 2015, 504 pages, 23 cm).
  • Martin Rang: Rousseau's Doctrine of Man . Göttingen 1959.
  • Juliane Rebentisch: On the dialectic of democratic existence . Part 3: Democracy and Aestheticization. Chapter V: The Spectacle of Democracy: Rousseau. Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2012.
  • Michaela Rehm: Civil creed. Morality and Religion in Rousseau's Political Philosophy . Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 2006.
  • Principes du droit de la guerre. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Principles of War; Possibility and impossibility of international politics. Rousseau's conception of war. Interpretation and with an introduction to the text history by Michael Bloch. In: German magazine for philosophy. Volume 58, Issue 2, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2010, pp. 288–306.
  • Christian Ritzi (Ed.): Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Émile". Educational novel, philosophical treatise, historical source . Julius Klinkhardt Publishing House, Bad Heilbrunn, 2014, ISBN 978-3-7815-1982-4 .
  • Klaus Semsch: Rousseau's subjective distancing from rhetoric. In: Distance from rhetoric. Structures and functions of aesthetic distancing from the 'ars rhetorica' of the French encyclopedists. Felix Meiner, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-7873-1396-6 , pp. 131-186. (Studies on the 18th Century, 25)
  • Robert Spaemann : Rousseau - citizens without a fatherland. From the polis to nature. Piper, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-492-00503-9 .
    • Robert Spaemann: Rousseau - man or citizen. The dilemma of modernity . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-608-94245-3 (New edition of the work: Rousseau - Citizens without a Fatherland. From the Polis to Nature. ).
  • Claude Lévi-Strauss: Structural Anthropology II. The 2nd chapter: Jean-Jaques Rousseau. Founder of the human sciences. (Title of the original edition Anthropologie Structurale deux. 1973).
  • Jean Starobinski : Rousseau. A world of resistance . Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-596-10255-3 (French: La transparence et lóbstacle . Translated by Ulrich Raulff, unabridged edition).
  • Ulrich Steinvorth: Stations of Political Theory . 3. Edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-15-007735-4 , pp. 97-132 .
  • Dieter Sturma: Jean-Jacques Rousseau . C. H. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-41949-6 .
  • Ghislain Waterlot: Rousseau. Religion et politique . PUF, Paris 2004.


  • Marvin Chlada : Conversation among bosom friends , in: The loudspeaker , Vol. 5: Clean & Sexy. Edited by Svenja Eckert and Boris Kerenski , loudspeaker publisher: Freiburg / Br. 2001, pp. 164-173
  • Heinrich Meier , On the happiness of philosophical life, reflections on Rousseau's Rêveries in two books, CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-62287-8 . Chinese 2013. American 2016


  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Nothing to hide (Original: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, tout dire) . Documentation (France, Switzerland, 2012, 87 min)

Web links

Wikisource: Jean-Jacques Rousseau  - Sources and full texts (French)
Wikisource: Jean-Jacques Rousseau  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Jean-Jacques Rousseau  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Overviews and lexicon entries
On individual aspects
Pages in French

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life . In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition from 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 177).
  2. ^ Leo Damrosch: Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Restless Genius. 2005, p. 7.
  3. ^ A b c Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract. Reclam's Universal Library, supplemented edition from 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 178).
  4. ^ A b Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition of 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 179).
  5. ^ A b Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition of 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 180).
  6. ^ A b Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition of 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 181).
  7. ^ Christiane Landgrebe: I am not for sale . The life of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Beltz, Weinheim, Basel 2004, ISBN 3-407-85784-5 , p. 53 .
  8. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Confessions . 4th edition. Insel, Leipzig 1956, p. 194 (French: Confessions . Translated by Ernst Hardt).
  9. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Confessions . 4th edition. Insel, Leipzig 1956, p. 195 (French: Confessions . Translated by Ernst Hardt).
  10. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Confessions . 4th edition. Insel, Leipzig 1956, p. 199–200 (French: Confessions . Translated by Ernst Hardt).
  11. Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition from 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (pp. 181 f.).
  12. ^ A b Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition from 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 182).
  13. ^ A b Hans Brockard: Rousseau's life. In the S. (Ed.): Jean Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract , Reclams Universal Library, supplemented edition of 2003, 2008, pp. 177–202 (p. 183).
  14. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Confessions (1743–1744) in the Gutenberg-DE project
  15. NOTA BENE. De la musique avec Rousseau. Si on chantait. ( Memento from May 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  16. ^ Rousseau, discoverer of childhood. In: Geo . December 2008. “Rousseau's own five children, however, did not enjoy a sheltered, happy childhood. Shortly after she was born, her father gave her to a foundling house. He cites his poverty as the reason, because he cannot write poetry if he knows that his offspring will not be looked after. The attempt by the Duchess of Luxembourgh to find the children later remains unsuccessful. "
  17. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Confessions (1750–1752) in the Gutenberg-DE project
  18. ^ Contrat Social , first line of the opening chapter
  19. "... les Sciences, les Lettres & les arts, moins despotiques & plus puissans peut-être, étendent des guirlandes de fleurs sur les chaînes de fer dont ils sont chargés, étouffent en eux le sentiment de cette liberté original pour laquelle ils sembloient être nés, leur font aimer leur esclavage, et, forment ce qu'on appelle des peuples policés. ”See Discours sur les sciences et les arts on Wikisource
  20. "D'autres encore pires maux suivent les Lettres & les Arts. Tel est le luxe, né comme eux de l'oisiveté & de la vanité des hommes. ”See Discours sur les sciences et les arts on Wikisource
  21. J.-J. Rousseau 1755/1990 (2nd ed. Edition Meier), p. 173, first sentence of the second part of the treatise.
  22. Cf. Andreas Dorschel : The deceived in the garden. “La Nouvelle Héloise”: Rousseau's aporetic of love In: Journal for the history of ideas. 6, 2012, issue 2, pp. 39–47.
  23. Andreas Dorschel , The general will. On Rousseau's “Contrat social” (1762). In: Journal for Didactics of Philosophy and Ethics. XXXII, 2010, issue 1, pp. 31-33.
  24. ^ Henning Ritter (Ed.): Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Schriften 1, Hanser, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-446-12503-5 . Then several New edition in other publishers.
  25. Christiane Landgrebe: Back to nature ?: The wild life of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Beltz, 2012, ISBN 978-3-407-22928-1 , p. 352.
  26. Already in earlier discussions with his social environment or with his fellow human beings who were originally friendly, to a certain extent psychopathic traits had been shown. see: Philipp Blom: Evil Philosophers: A Salon in Paris and the Forgotten Legacy of the Enlightenment. Hanser, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-446-23648-6 , p. 278 ff.
  27. ^ Bronislaw Baczko: Rousseau et la pédagogie révolutionnaire . In: Marion Hobson, JTA Leigh, Robert Wokler (Eds.): Rousseau & the eighteenth century . Voltaire Foundation at the Taylor Institution, Oxford 1992, ISBN 0-7294-0434-X , pp. 407 f .
  28. ^ Hugo Blank: Rousseau - Favart - Mozart. Six variations on a libretto (Hans-Joachim Lope (Hrsg.): Studies and documents on the history of Romanic literatures 38th ) Peter Lang, European publishing house, the science of Frankfurt, etc. 1999, ISBN 3-631-35308-1 .
  29. See Spiegel 40/1966, Rousseau. Constant yapping. Composers.
  30. Benner and Brüggen 1996
  31. Johannes Rohbeck: Actuality of the Enlightenment. In: Sonja Asal / Johannes Rohbeck (ed.): Enlightenment and Enlightenment Criticism in France. Self-interpretations of the 18th century in the mirror of contemporaries. Berlin 2003, p. 30 f.
  32. Far, Far ... Arcadia: About the longing for the other life. 2000, , p. 26.
  33. ^ A b Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Treatise on the political economy. In: Politische Schriften 1. P. 49
  34. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Academic publication. Part 2: Discours
  35. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Treatise on the political economy. In: Politische Schriften 1. S. 208.
  36. Immanuel Kant: Works in ten volumes. Edited by Wilhelm Weischedel, Vol. 9. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1971, pp. 93–95.
  37. ^ Karlfriedrich Herb, Bernhard HF Taureck: Rousseau Breviary. Key texts and explanations. Wilhelm Fink-Verlag, Munich 2012, pp. 87–90.
  38. ^ Arnd Krüger : History of hiking, in: Axel Dreyer u. a. (Ed.): Hiking tourism . Munich: Oldenbourg 2010, pp. 15–21.
  39. Otto Hansmann: Logic of Paradox. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's paradoxes in the field of tension between philosophy, education and politics . Publishing house Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2013.
  40. J.-J. Rousseau: Émile or On Education . Ed., Incorporated. u. Annotated by Martin Rang, with the collaboration of the editor from the French. Transferred by E. Sckommodau. Reclam-Verlag, Stuttgart, 1978, p. 265.
  41. Difficult is the philosophical naturalness , review by Henning Ritter on Rousseau's dog in the FAZ of May 27, 2009, accessed January 19, 2015
  42. Chapter-wise interpretation, with quotations from important paragraphs; synoptic chronological table of the life of Rousseau and European (literary) history; Particularly valuable are the annexes with various lists of terms and the like. a. - bibliography. In French
  43. Compare Rousseau's writing with modern forms of communication such as Facebook , Twitter, etc .; to Rousseau's paranoia
  44. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, tout dire in the Internet Movie Database (English)