Rousseau and the Social Contract

  • Paul BishopEmail author


In this chapter we leap several centuries from Plato and Aristotle to Rousseau, whose thought offers a good point to pick up our analysis of political thought as an attempt to find a way out of the cave described in the allegory in book 7 of the Republic. In the arresting opening lines of Rousseau’s Social Contract, we find ourselves back in the world of Plato’s cave: that is to say, we find ourselves in chains, an image that plays an almost obsessive role in the thought of Rousseau. There are important areas of affinity and agreement between Rousseau and Plato, but there are also some important areas of difference and disagreement too, not least around the roles played by liberty, equality, and sovereignty.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Modern Languages and CulturesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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