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General Will - The General Will Before Rousseau, Jean-jacques Rousseau, Rousseau's General Will, The General Will After Rousseau

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow discharge

General will (volonté générale) is inextricably associated with the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). While Rousseau appropriated the general will from the theological debates of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, he made the concept his own with the political formulation he gave it in his Du contrat social (1762; On the social contract). Interpretations of the general will since Rousseau have largely been colored by views of the French Revolution (1789–1799) and of the role both thinker and concept played in the ideological justification of the Revolution and assessments of its inheritance.

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