Philosophic Anthropology in Rousseau and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
APPLE OF GOLD IN PICTURES OF SILVER: HONORING THE WORK OF LEON R. KASS, Yuval Levin, Thomas W. Merrill, Adam Schulman, eds., Lexington Books, 2010
31 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 12, 2010
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the most durably influential critic of classic modern liberalism, maintained that the optimal conditions for human happiness existed only in a pre-political and pre-legal world. This essay, prepared for a festschrift honoring the philosopher and biologist Leon Kass, examines Rousseau’s claim in light of new evidence provided by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, a contemporary anthropologist and naturalist. The essay argues that Marshall’s findings, along with others provided by modern science, confirm and enrich the core elements of Rousseau’s analysis.
Keywords: Aristotle, Bantus, De Anima, Discourse on Inequality, Bushmen, Evolution, Hottentots, Hunter-Gatherers, Ju/wasi, Kalahari, Laws of Mechanics, Lions, Lucretius, Old Way, Orangutans, Perfection, Politics, Soul, State of Nature, Xaro
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