Subordination and Freedom in Rousseau’ Philosophy

Luc Vincenti

To clarify the paradoxical relationship of submission and liberty requires the mediation of necessity. Necessity defines submission by contrast with obedience, which Rousseau condemns, placing it in the category of interpersonal relationships. Thus, it is obedience, and not submission that stands in opposition to liberty. One does not submit to men, but to a positive or natural law, where one remains independent of another’s will. Natural law is as fairly good a model for the laws of republics as it is for the morality of the wise person who knows to keep his place in the order of the world.


Keywords: Rousseau · submission · obedience · liberty · necessity · laws

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