Evading the City

Mark S. Cladis

in Public Vision, Private Lives

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195125542
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834082 | DOI:
 Evading the City

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Explores the private path to redemption, especially as found in Rousseau's Reveries of the Solitary Walker. The public path, as discussed in ch. 7, reflects the Enlightenment hope that human fallenness can be overcome by reforming society; the private path, in contrast, reflects the Augustinian conviction that humans, owing to their inward fallen condition, cannot cure themselves of sin or evil. The public path recommends that individuals ensconce themselves snugly within the enlightened, educative community; the private path recommends that individuals cultivate a spiritual, interior life and extricate themselves from commitments and other social entanglements that exacerbate the human propensity to inflict harm. Like the extreme public path, on the extreme private path there is no conflict between public and private. This time, because there is no public life with which to clash. Ultimately, the remedy of the private path is as extreme as that of the public path. This one calls for the complete loss of the private life, the other the loss of the public. Both are effective, if the goal is to live undividedly. Both are inadequate, if the goal is to live a full, flourishing human existence.

Keywords: Augustinian; Enlightenment; evil; private; public path; Reveries of the Solitary Walker; Rousseau; solitude

Chapter.  10954 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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