What does it mean to be Polish according to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Considerations on the Government of Poland

Jean-Luc Guichet

For Rousseau, the Polish problem is the construction of a national identity. Poland, a vast open plain threatened by powerful neighbors, cannot find any principle of resistance except in itself in the form of a Polish soul. In order to face danger, it is necessary to train the citizen by shaping all his passions and opinions in order to make him love and cultivate this identity which bears a Polish unity. A main difficulty, however, will be to generalize this identity originally rooted in a particular group: the nobility. Thus, responding to the bet of a situation of vital emergency, the Considerations represent themselves a kind of theoretical bet of Rousseau.


Keywords: Poland · Rousseau · identity · resistance · Corsica · political philosophy · eighteenth century

Jean-Luc Guichet – Associate Professor in philosophy, Dr. Habil. at the University of Picardie Jules Verne, ESPE Beauvais, France. Member of the GEMR (Groupe d’études du matérialisme rationnel, the research team directed by Yves Vargas) and CAREF (Centre amiénois de recherche en enseignement et formation). His work focuses on Rousseau, on the various aspects of the Enlightenment, on the human-animal question and on contemporary issues in anthropology, education and environmental philosophy. Main works: Rousseau, l’animal et l’homme. L’animalité dans l’horizon anthropologique des Lumières, Cerf, 2006 ; Usages politiques de l’animalité (ed.), L’Harmattan, 2008 ; Douleur animale, douleur humaine. Données scientifi ques, perspectives anthropologiques, questions éthiques (ed.), Quae, 2010 ; De l’animal- machine à l’âme des machine. Querelles biomécaniques de l’âme (XVIIe–XXIe siècles) (ed.), Publications de la Sorbonne, 2010 ; Problématiques animales. Théorie de la connaissance, Anthropologie, Éthique et Droit, PUF, 2011 ; La question sexuelle. Interrogations de la sexualité dans l’oeuvre et la pensée de Rousseau (ed.), Garnier, 2012.   »  

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