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Single Idea 19767

[catalogued under 2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason]

Full Idea

Reason is what engenders egocentrism ...turns man in upon himself ...and separates him from all that troubles him and afflicts him. Philosophy is what ...moves him to say at the sight of a suffering man 'Perish if you will; I am safe and sound'.

Gist of Idea

Reason leads to prudent selfishness, but overruling natural compassion


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Part I)

A Reaction

He goes on to observe that fights in the marketplace are stopped by women, while the philosophers have all run away! This thinking leads to the sentimental movement, and then to romanticism.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.54