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Rousseau

  • Robert R. Rusk
Chapter

Abstract

Rousseau is the most maligned and most misunderstood figure in the history of education, and for this he has himself largely to blame. The story of the heartless wretch who packed off his children to a foundlings hospital as soon as they were born, although supported by his own Confessions, is doubtless a fabrication — a rationalisation to cloak what may be presumed to be his impotence. He had no children of his own,2 no schooling and little or no experience of teaching. When towards the end of 1735 he was reprimanded by his father for his shiftless existence, he retorted by expressing his inclination to become a tutor: ‘Finally, I might in a few years and with a little more experience become tutor to some young men of quality. … I confess frankly that that is the estate for which I feel some inclination.’3

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Footnotes

  1. 2.
    Frederika Macdonald, Jean-Jacgues Rousseau: A New Criticism (London: Chapman & Hall, 1906), vol. i, p. 156. Grimsley nevertheless accepts the traditional view that Rousseau abandoned his children. Op. cit., pp. 77, 109, 154, 282, 306–7, 325. Also F. C. Green, pp. 37–38, but see p. 178, Mme de Luxembourg’s search proved fruitless to trace the elder child through the records of the Foundlings Hospital.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    A. L. Sells, The Early Life and Adventures of J.-J. Rousseau (Cambridge: Heffer & Sons, 1929), p. 503.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    1740. For English translation see W. Boyd, The Minor Educational Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (London: Blackie & Sons, 1911).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Doubtless inspired by Hume’s essay ‘On the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences’. D. Hume, Essays, Moral, Political and Literary (1742).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Cf. C. E. Vaughan, The Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Cambridge University Press, 1915), vol. i, p. 1: ’strike out the Discours sur l’inégalité with the first few pages of the Contrat Social and the “individualism” of Rousseau will be seen to be nothing better than a myth.’ Also p. 2: ‘Rousseau, so far from supporting the individualistic theory, is its most powerful assailant.’Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    See C. E. Vaughan, The Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Cambridge University Press, 1915), vol. i, p. 234, and vol. ii, p. 142. 2Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    B. Bosanquet, Croce’s Aesthetic (Oxford University Press, 1920), p. 8.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Cf: E. Caird, The Critical Philosophy of Immanuel Kant (Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1889), vol. ii, p. 356. ‘Rousseau’s primary conception of man is, in a sense, individualistic, that is, it is individualistic in the sense of the Stoics in which the claims of the individual are based on the fact that he is in himself a universal.’Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    For criticism of the stratification view of human development as contrasted with the theory of concomitant development of the mental powers, see Appendix III by Cyril Burt, to the report of the Consultative Committee on The Primary School (H.M. Stationery Office. 1931)Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Ernest Jones, Papers on Psycho-Analysis (London: Baillière, Tindall & Cox, 1913; 5th edn., 1950), p. 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 2.
    T. P. Nunn, Education: Its Data and First Principles (London: Edward Arnold & Co. Revised edition, 1930), p. 242.Google Scholar
  12. 3.
    A. T. Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing (Cambridge University Press, 1916), p. 15.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    Fragmente aus dem Nachlasse, quoted by N. Kemp Smith. A Commentary to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (London: Macmillan & Co., 1918), p. lvii.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    E. Cassirer, Rousseau, Kant, Goethe (Princeton University Press, 1945). H. Heine, Religion and Philosophy in Germany, English translation, p. 108, gives the following account of Kant’s routine: ‘The history of Immanuel Kant’s life is difficult to portray, for he had neither life nor history. He led a mechanical, regular, almost abstract bachelor existence in a little retired street of Königsberg. I do not believe that the great clock of the cathedral performed in a more passionless and methodical manner its daily routine than did its townsman, Immanuel Kant. Rising in the morning, coffee-drinking, writing, reading lectures, dining, walking, everything had its appointed time, and the neighbours knew that it was exactly half-past three o’clock when Immanuel Kant stepped forth from his house in his grey tight-fitting coat, with his Spanish cane in his hand, and betook himself to the little linden avenue called after him to this day, the Philosopher’s Walk.’Google Scholar

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© R. R. Rusk 1969

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