Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft on the imagination
Reuter, M. (2017). Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft on the imagination. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 25(6), 1138-1160. https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2017.1334188
Published inBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License.
The article compares Rousseau’s and Wollstonecraft’s views on the imagination. It is argued that though Wollstonecraft was evidently influenced by Rousseau, there are significant differences between their views. These differences are grounded in their different views on the faculty of reason and its relation to the passions. Whereas Rousseau characterizes reason as a derivative faculty, grounded in the more primary faculty of perfectibility, Wollstonecraft perceives reason as the faculty defining human nature. It is argued that contrary to what is often assumed, Wollstonecraft’s conception of the imagination is not primarily characterized by its Romantic features, but rather by the close affinity she posits between reason and the imagination. This close affinity has several consequences. One consequence is that she is less worried than Rousseau about the imagination wandering without external constrains, because she believes in reason’s ability to guide the imagination by choosing its objects. Ultimately the difference between Rousseau’s and Wollstonecraft’s views on the imagination helps us understand why she was a passionate philosopher of the Enlightenment while he was one of its first, perceptive and most articulate critics. ...
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License.
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