This page features a collection of the best resources on Jean-Jacques Rousseau. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want a comprehensive overview:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Rousseau. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 9000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces Rousseau:
“Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains an important figure in the history of philosophy, both because of his contributions to political philosophy and moral psychology and because of his influence on later thinkers. Rousseau’s own view of philosophy and philosophers was firmly negative, seeing philosophers as the post-hoc rationalizers of self-interest, as apologists for various forms of tyranny, and as playing a role in the alienation of the modern individual from humanity’s natural impulse to compassion. The concern that dominates Rousseau’s work is to find a way of preserving human freedom in a world where human beings are increasingly dependent on one another for the satisfaction of their needs….”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Chris Bertram discuss Rousseau’s Moral Psychology of the Philosophy Bites podcast [19:41 mins]
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on Rousseau
The Daily Idea collects and organizes the best philosophy resources from across the internet to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible. You can find an organized collection of introductory readings and free philosophy resources here. Or get started below by signing up for a free philosophy quote delivered to your inbox each day!