Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to fathom, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most engaging yet enigmatic philosophers of the eighteenth century. He wrote with a flair and directness unique among great thinkers, yet beneath the surface of his works there is an extraordinarily complex theory of human nature and society. His diverse body of writing often leaves students struggling to find a coherent philosophical outlook. Rousseau: A Guide for the Perplexed is a clear and thorough account of Rousseau's major works and ideas, providing an ideal guide to the complicated thought of this key philosopher. The book covers the whole range of Rousseau's life and work, offering a detailed review of his landmark philosophical texts, including The Social Contract and Emile , together with examination of his influential contribution to the social sciences. The book provides a cogent and reliable survey of the famous paradoxes in his philosophy and shows how they fit together into a coherent and important theory of culture and politics. This book is the ideal companion to the study of this most influential and challenging philosopher.
Matthew Simpson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Luther College, Decorah, IA. Among his previous publications is 'Political Libery in the Social Contract' in A Decade of Transformations, eds Gerin & Jedlickova.