Burke lettore di Rousseau: note a margine di "A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly"

Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 23 (2):655-668 (2021)
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Abstract

Edmund Burke, known for his full condemnation of the French Revolution, has ascribed to the French philosophes the making of that turn of mind which eventually created the conditions for the total subversion of France. This paper aims at investigating Burke’s interpretation of Rous- seau: in fact, him he considers to be the father of that disposition – which he calls vanity – that has inflamed the spirits of an entire population. «A silent revolution in the moral world preceded the political, and prepared it», Burke writes. Hence, by delving into A Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791), known to be Burke’s most extensive critique of Rousseau’s thought, and by constantly referring to his broader intellectual production, this paper tackles the question on the charges Burke imputes to Rousseau in fermenting that very disposition of mind which prepared the ground for the Revolution. Not political doctrines, but examples derived from Rousseau’s very life and his proper pedagogic reflections, according to Burke, have had the great- est responsibility in shaping the revolutionary mind.

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Giacomo Maria Arrigo
University Vita-Salute San Raffaele

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