"Rousseau, Amour-Propre, and Intellectual Celebrity"

Journal of Politics 71 (2):506-19 (2009)
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With the publication of the First Discourse, Rousseau initiated a famous debate over the social value of the arts and sciences. As this debate developed, however, it transformed into a question of the value of the intellectuals as a social class and touched upon questions of identity formation. While the philosophes were lobbying to become a new cultural aristocracy, Rousseau believed the ideological gloriļ¬cation of intellectual talent demeaned the peasants and working classes. This essay argues that amour propre, as put forth in the Second Discourse, was in part designed to address this concern and is an attempt to highlight the dangers of making talent the measure of a human.
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