A Veiled Antinomian?
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Leo Strauss
natural goodness

How to Cite

A Veiled Antinomian? On Straussian and Subversive Interpretations of Rousseau’s Life and Thought. (2019). The Political Science Reviewer, 43(1), 137-166. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/607


Among the different paradigms of Rousseau interpretation, the Straussian now occupies some of the commanding heights, especially in Anglophone scholarship and in philosophical interpretations of the corpus as a whole.  This article provides the first general introduction to the Straussian scholars who interpret the corpus in crucial view of the autobiographies.  It offers sustained and sympathetic critiques of Chistopher Kelly’s approach to the Confessions, Laurence Cooper’s approach to the Reveries, and Arthur Melzer on the significance of intellectual inequality.  Granting the possibility that our author engaged in esoteric writing, important questions remain about the nature of the final, solitary Jean-Jacques, and about his stature within the corpus as a whole.  A more ‘moralistic’ and less ‘antinomian’ Rousseau remains an interpretive possibility, even in view of the most rigorous and subversive interpretations of his final works.

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