Residual Conflict

Mark S. Cladis

in Public Vision, Private Lives

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195125542
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834082 | DOI:
 Residual Conflict

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Focuses on the residual friction between the public and private life: private perfection versus public compromise, self‐reliance versus social dependence, self‐love versus love of the common good, private contentment versus public felicity, self‐esteem versus public pride, fidelity to a universal deity versus loyalty to a provincial civil religion. Rousseau recognized this friction, yet he refused to surrender either side of the conflict, preferring to keep them together, precariously, in spite of the tension. He went a long way, to be sure, to mitigate the polarization, and this was often achieved by his religious vocabulary. Yet the tension never disappeared in his work. In the end, his refusal to evade the tension may be his greatest contribution to modern social thought. For, determination to wrestle with such tension, without denying or eliminating it, is a hallmark of modern, democratic societies.

Keywords: life; private; public; religious; Rousseau

Chapter.  8713 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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