The primacy of pity

reconceiving ethical experience and education in Rousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

For Rousseau, there are only three things he does not reason away apart from reason itself: self-interest, the good and, at least until Emile, pity. This paper argues that it is Rousseau’s original formulation of pity in the Second Discourse that is able to provide the extra-rational conception of ethics that his political and educational philosophy lacks when limited to a reading of the Social Contract and Emile. This paper will also show how the reconceptualisation of these existential predicates is usefully aligned with a reading of Derrida’s conceptions of immunity and autoimmunity. By reconceiving Rousseau’s educational and political thinking in terms of the primacy of pity rather than reason, this paper will present a kind of philosophical prototype for beginning to rethink contemporary educational and political logic in terms of the primacy of pity more generally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalEthics and Education
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016

Keywords

  • Derrida
  • immunity
  • pity
  • reason
  • Rousseau

Cite this

Bojesen, Emile. / The primacy of pity : reconceiving ethical experience and education in Rousseau. In: Ethics and Education. 2016 ; Vol. 11, No. 2. pp. 131-140.
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The primacy of pity : reconceiving ethical experience and education in Rousseau. / Bojesen, Emile.

In: Ethics and Education, Vol. 11, No. 2, 03.05.2016, p. 131-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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