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Rousseau in the wake of Montesquieu’s legacy: historical imagination and political theorization

Grant number: 05/02751-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2006
Effective date (End): June 30, 2009
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Jose Oscar de Almeida Marques
Grantee:Renato Moscateli
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


When Montesquieu and Rousseau are put side by side as political thinkers, it is usual to oppose them as if the first had studied the laws as they exist, in order to explain them by means of the concrete situations that presided over their generation, and the second had looked for what the laws ought ideally to be in order to correspond to an abstract notion of right. Thus, one would have, on the one side, a Montesquieu too concerned with the historicity of human institutions to be able to elaborate a true theory of the foundations of political right, and, on the other, a Rousseau hostile to history and dedicated to the formulation of political tenets of the ideal sort. There are, however, good reasons to call this opposition in question, what can be done by a careful analysis of the sometimes open, but often implicit, dialogue undertook by the Genevan philosopher with the current of political thought whose central themes are articulated in Montesquieus work. The aim of this research is, then, to analyze Rousseaus work in search of the traces of Montesquieu, in order to substantiate the thesis that it is much more impregnated of historical considerations than usually believed. In fact, such considerations play a significant role in the author's exposition of his hypotheses, to the point that his political ideas can only be properly understood in the light of his reading of historical processes, something that makes him close to Montesquieus attitude. What I intend, especially, is to show how the system of causality ascribed by Montesquieu to history was somehow incorporated by Rousseau into his own reflections, and to investigate the existence in them of an interpretative and discursive model from which the historical narratives should be established as representations of interconnected events in a coherent way. What I intend with this is to show that there are much more points in common between the ideas of Montesquieu and Rousseau than it is usually recognized. (AU)

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(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
MOSCATELI, Renato. Rousseau in the Wake of Montesquieu's: historical imagination and political theorization. 2009. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas Campinas, SP.

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