(Ap)pointing the canon Rousseau's Émile, visions of the state, and education

Baker, Bernadette (2001) (Ap)pointing the canon Rousseau's Émile, visions of the state, and education. Educational Theory, 51(1), pp. 1-43.

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Abstract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Émile, ou de I’Education (Émile, or on Education) has been described by Rousseau scholars in latter twentieth century English-language philosophy as an educational classic. In 1995 Robert Wokler argued that together with Montesquieu, Hume, Smith, and Kant among his contemporaries, Rousseau had exerted the most profound influence on modern European intellectual history, “perhaps even surpassing anyone else of his day." For Wokler Émile is “the most significant work on education after Plato’s Republic.” Earlier in 1977, Allan Bloom questioned why Émile had not been the subject of analysis in philosophy relative to the rest of Rousseau‘s work, for “Émile is truly a great book, one that lays out for the first time and with the greatest clarity and vitality the modern way of posing the problems of psychology.” Bloom also saw Émile as “one of those rare total or synoptic books... a book comparable to Plato’s Republic, which it is meant to rival or supersede” and argued that Rousseau himself was at the source of a new tradition: “Whatever else Rousseau may have accomplished, he presented alternatives available to man more comprehensively and profoundly and articulated them in the form which has dominated discussion since his time." Even Peter Gay’s earlier commentary on John Locke and education in 1964 could not escape this central positioning of the text. The significance of Locke’s Some Thoughts on Education is weighed in relation to its impact on Rousseau‘s Émile. For Gay, the latter is “probably the most influential revolutionary tract on education that we have.”

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ID Code: 89885
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2001.00001.x
ISSN: 1741-5446
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 Board of Trustees / University of Illinois
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2015 07:36
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 00:54

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