20. Democracy and Participation: Rousseau's Social Contract, I-II

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Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114)

The concept of "general will" is considered Rousseau's most important contribution to political science. It is presented as the answer to the gravest problems of civilization, namely, the problems of inequality, amour-propre, and general discontent. The social contract is the foundation of the general will and the answer to the problem of natural freedom, because nature itself provides no guidelines for determining who should rule. The lecture ends with Rousseau's legacy and the influence he exercised on later nineteenth-century writers and philosophers.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: Social Contract and the General Will
25:04 - Chapter 2. Applications of the General Will
30:54 - Chapter 3. The Legacies of Rousseau

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2006.