Chapter

Conclusion

Mark S. Cladis

in Public Vision, Private Lives

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195125542
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834082 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195125541.003.0013
 Conclusion

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Can we achieve a common life and also support thriving private lives? In this concluding chapter, I ask if Rousseau held a dominant, normative view that informed his various depictions of social and personal health and healing. Finally, I suggest what Rousseau has to offer to us, to practitioners of twenty‐first century democracy. It is precisely the chaos of Rousseau's life and tangles of his thought that make him useful for exploring the irregular contours of the public and private. The tensions and complexities of life alone and life together branded, seared, his work. Self‐possession and civic participation, private safety and public belonging, personal aesthetics and shared pleasures – these goals, commitments, and ideals animated Rousseau as he sought to capture them, all of them, in his life and thought. His failures are evident enough. But the attempt remains worthwhile.

Keywords: civic participation; democracy; private; private safety; public; public belonging; Rousseau

Chapter.  11304 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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