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Grant number: FEL-256954-18

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Laurence David Cooper
Carleton College (Northfield, MN 55057-4044)

French Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Reveries of the Solitary Walker"

A book-length study on French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Reveries of the Solitary Walker (1782).

Since antiquity a number of Western philosophers have articulated the view that good and bad deeds are the products of knowledge and ignorance, respectively, or that virtue is knowledge and vice ignorance. This cognitivist view of morality (as I call it) is very high-minded. But it also challenges the presuppositions of what one might call the ordinary moral consciousness or the self-understanding of morality as such. Thus the implications of the cognitivist view are momentous, not only theoretically but also practically, at least to the extent that the view gains currency. And it is my observation that the cognitivist view has been gaining currency in the postmodern world. I propose to investigate this view of morality—both its meaning and its potential consequences—through a book-length study of one its richest articulations: the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s final work, the Reveries of the Solitary Walker.

Project fields:
Ethics; History of Philosophy; Political Theory


Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018