General Will, The - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The idea of the general will (volonté générale) forms the core of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's political philosophy. Others had introduced the term before him, and his use influenced many others, including Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, but the general will is most closely associated with Rousseau's Social Contract (1762/1997). In that work, Rousseau argued that "the general will alone can direct the forces of the State according to … the common good" (II.1.1, p. 57) and that political rule is only legitimate when based on a social contract that establishes the general will as sovereign. This led Rousseau to hold that laws must be authorized by the people as a whole, since "only the general will obligates particulars, and there can never be any assurance that a particular will conforms to the general will until it has been submitted to the free suffrage of...

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This section contains 1,367 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the General Will, The Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan
General Will, The from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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