This article considers whether Rousseau’s Social Contract allows us to think of a popular revolt against the State. It does so by focusing mainly on several details of the work which, though seemingly marginal, reveal significant tensions in Rousseau’s thought. For example, Rousseau oscillates between a conception of “crisis” as opportunity for state rejuvenation and another as opportunity for state rebirth; he hesitates between a conception of morals and customs on which they form the core of legislation that allows the body politic to survive conflict and another on which they result from the conflict itself; and he is undecided on whether political legitimacy is exhausted by legality – by legal forms and limitations – or whether it goes beyond it. The article argues that two opposing strands in Rousseau’s thought in the Contract underlie and can account for these tensions. On the first strand, the separation between people and State disappears, and any contrast between the two is inconceivable. If there seems to be a revolt of the people against the State, this must be read as an effort by the sovereign to restore the legitimate order that has been violated. On the second strand, the people are to an important degree autonomous with respect to established institutions, and a genuine conflict between the two is conceivable.

Toto, F. (2021). Le peuple contré l'Etat. Les deux logiques du 'Contrat social'. LES ÉTUDES PHILOSOPHIQUES(3), 87-122 [10.3917/leph.213.0087].

Le peuple contré l'Etat. Les deux logiques du 'Contrat social'

Francesco Toto
2021

Abstract

This article considers whether Rousseau’s Social Contract allows us to think of a popular revolt against the State. It does so by focusing mainly on several details of the work which, though seemingly marginal, reveal significant tensions in Rousseau’s thought. For example, Rousseau oscillates between a conception of “crisis” as opportunity for state rejuvenation and another as opportunity for state rebirth; he hesitates between a conception of morals and customs on which they form the core of legislation that allows the body politic to survive conflict and another on which they result from the conflict itself; and he is undecided on whether political legitimacy is exhausted by legality – by legal forms and limitations – or whether it goes beyond it. The article argues that two opposing strands in Rousseau’s thought in the Contract underlie and can account for these tensions. On the first strand, the separation between people and State disappears, and any contrast between the two is inconceivable. If there seems to be a revolt of the people against the State, this must be read as an effort by the sovereign to restore the legitimate order that has been violated. On the second strand, the people are to an important degree autonomous with respect to established institutions, and a genuine conflict between the two is conceivable.
Toto, F. (2021). Le peuple contré l'Etat. Les deux logiques du 'Contrat social'. LES ÉTUDES PHILOSOPHIQUES(3), 87-122 [10.3917/leph.213.0087].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/393413
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