Start Encyclopedia69 Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
dictionary -  encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



General Will

  The general will (or volonté générale) was a pivotal concept in the political thought of Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778). He defined the general will as the common good that a well-formed citizen would recognize, as opposed to his own particular will (volonté particuliere). (Rousseau meant ‘his’, precisely. There was no place, in his thought, for women as citizens.) Rousseau believed that the full expression of positive liberty is only possible in a society where each individual\'s conception of liberty is compatible. For that reason he emphasized the need to develop a common and well-developed system of civic education in order to transform each individual into a citizen. In a community of educated citizens each individual will will be able to discern the general will or common good, and in supporting it will display the rational exercise of their freedom. Rousseau\'s conception of a good social order also presupposed both economic equality among citizens and the superiority of small-scale participatory democracy: otherwise there would be too many divisions of interests to sustain a shared conception of the common good.

In the eyes of his critics, Rousseau\'s ideas, especially those governing the general will, are the source of totalitarian conceptions of democracy which seek to force people to be free. For his supporters Rousseau carefully identified the conditions of a workable and free democratic society (even if he had sexist blindspots) and cannot be blamed for the abuse of his ideas at the hands of Jacobins and Bolsheviks. BO\'L

See also liberalism.Further reading M. Cranston, , P. Riley, The General Will Before Rousseau: the Transformation of the Divine into the Civic.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
Gene Therapy
Generalized Other


Other Terms : Community | Marriage | Silver Age
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About |
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us