The full text of this item is not available at this time because the student has placed this item under an embargo for a period of time. The Libraries are not authorized to provide a copy of this work during the embargo period, even for Texas A&M users with NetID.
Rousseau against Republicanisms: Political Community and Human Order at the Edge of a Tradition
MetadataShow full item record
Over the past few decades, scholarship in political theory as well as in intellectual history has shown a growing interest in civic republicanism, a theory of politics with ancient lineages, which might offer new ways to confront political challenges and address contemporary concerns. In many respects, however, the idea of civic republicanism remains underdeveloped. There is broad disagreement regarding the fundamental character of republicanism and who qualifies for membership in such a tradition. In this project, I employ the idea of republicanism as a family of concepts in order to preserve theoretical rigor yet maintain a capacious understanding of it, an approach allowing me to engage with the diversity of situation and practice where republican ideas of politics have been applied. I use this approach to elucidate the political thought of a figure few have studied through the lens of civic republicanism: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose relationship to republican tradition remains ambiguous despite the promise of approaching his thought from this perspective. In subsequent chapters, I focus on the ways in which Rousseau engages a diversity of republican lineages by exploring his thought alongside various accounts of the republic found in early modern political thought: a traditional, classical and Christian idea of the republic as seen in the works of Leonardo Bruni; an imperial republic exemplified in the writings of Machiavelli; and a commercial republicanism synthesized from the writings of Montesquieu but with other roots in the Augustinian moral theorists of Port-Royal. Through their considerations of problems of moral knowledge and true community, human order and power, and the passions as source of human sociability, these comparisons draw out important features of Rousseau’s republicanism. I then discuss Rousseau’s own robust yet judicious account of the goods of human association and the benefits of a common life, and finally, in the face of all human limitation, his demand that all republics be constituted according to right. Reclaiming Rousseau’s republicanism, I demonstrate, not only acknowledges a far more subtle approach to the virtuous society but also can offer resources for those concerned with the more problematic elements of republican thought.
Dyer, Megan Kathleen (2017). Rousseau against Republicanisms: Political Community and Human Order at the Edge of a Tradition. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from