Rousseau's general will in the light of Isaiah Berlin
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This thesis aims to investigate Rousseau’s General Will in the light of Isaiah Berlin’s views on negative freedom, positive freedom, political monism and political pluralism. It is argued that, along with the romanticist readings of the General Will which rely on compassion to explain the General Will, a rationalist reading of the General Will, as exampled by Isaiah Berlin, is also a possibility. According to that reading, the General Will is associated with positive freedom (i.e. rational autonomy) and therefore taken as a rationalist project. The singularity (or monism) of the General Will is criticized in the thesis since it might possibly lead to authoritarianism. However it is also argued that pluralism, as exampled by Berlin, might also turn out to be authoritarian if it seeks to ground itself upon an objective reality. This leaves us at an impasse with regard to the Rousseauian legacy, for it might leave us with no basis from which to challenge it.
JC328.2 .Y55 2001