Reconciling Citizen and Solitaire

Mark S. Cladis

in Public Vision, Private Lives

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195125542
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834082 | DOI:
 Reconciling Citizen and Solitaire

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Highlights the religious dimensions of Rousseau's thought on the middle way. Rousseau associated the deepest aspects of the public and private life with religion, and he employed a religious vocabulary when he articulated their potential reconciliation and conflict. He maintained that freedom, equality, and individual rights require support not only from law but also from shared traditions and commitments – from something like a common, secular faith. Moreover, he held that freedom of religion is necessary for individuals to flourish as human beings and as citizens. A cultivated interior life can bring personal fulfillment, and it can enable a person to become ”self‐possessed,” i.e., capable of autonomous deliberation in private and public domains. Rousseau's middle way sought to capture both the public and private aspects of religion: to champion a unifying, common faith as well as to protect private projects. In Rousseau's view, however, the success of the middle way is doubtful.

Keywords: equality; freedom; individual rights; political; private; public; religion; Rousseau; social integration; society

Chapter.  16234 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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