In this superb introduction, Nicholas Dent covers the whole of Rousseau's thought. Beginning with a helpful overview of Rousseau's life and works, he introduces and assesses Rousseau's central ideas and arguments. These include the corruption of modern civilization, the state of nature, his famous theories of amour de soi and amour propre, education, and his famous work Emile. He gives particular attention to Rousseau's theories of democracy and freedom found in his most celebrated work, The Social Contract, and explains what Rousseau meant by the 'general will'.

chapter 1|7 pages


chapter 2|41 pages

Life and Key Works

chapter 3|32 pages

The Three Discourses Three

chapter 4|43 pages


chapter 5|36 pages

The Social Contract

chapter 6|21 pages

Culture, Religion and Politics

chapter 7|29 pages


chapter 8|23 pages

Rousseau’s Legacy and Influence