Talk:General will

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The "quotation" at the top of this article has been cobbled together and I shall replace it with the whole of the first para of book 4 as the reference alleges. Empathyfreak (talk) 13:43, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Hello, I was wondering if anyone can break down what Jean-Jaques Rousseau meant by, "any member who refuses to obey the general will should be forced to do so"

The General will did not start with Rousseau, at the very least both Pascal and Diderot talked about it before he did. -S

The last criticism should be deleted or reworded. It's framed in such a way as to suggest that, definitely, Rousseau offers no mechanism, and that that, by some, is alarming for the reasons it gives. In fact, Rousseau's answer to the conditions under which majority will does not correspond to general will is, quite simply, to change those conditions. Under conditions of absolute equality, says Rousseau, people's interests would be the same, and therefore there could be no such discrepancy or even prolonged disagreement. The "mechanism for articulation" could then be as simple as put earlier on this page: the oak tree. The criticism is a straw man argument. I have deleted it. tomblikebomb

Rousseau scholars such as his biographer and editor Maurice Cranston and Ralph Leigh, to name a few, do not consider Talmon's "totalitarian thesis" c. 1950 as sustainable. The "General will" was a term of art and was not invented by Rousseau, who was a synthesizer, though a memorable and original stylist. It is true that Roussseau did not acknowledge his debt to the jurists and theologians who influenced him, but he was a very engaged and deep reader. The term "general will" occurs in Malebranche and Diderot in his Encyclopedia article on "Droit Politique." The "general will" in Rousseau is identical to the rule of law. See Maurice Cranston's introduction to the Social Contract, Penguin Classics, 1968, pp. 9-42.Mballen (talk) 01:28, 22 February 2009 (UTC)February, 2009

Weird but[edit]

What rousseau meant was that those who do not lay down their individual wills, or rights, to the general will, then they will be forced to do so. By submitting your will to the general will you were living in a state of freedom. When you did not submit your individual will to the general will freely, then basically you would be forced to do so, and in that forced to live in freedom. its a weird concept i know

The general will is the rule of law, which is agreed on by everybody and therefore general. People who don't obey the law ....Mballen (talk) 03:53, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
According to the French equivalent of the Declaration of Rights:
Article 6 of Declaration of des droit de l'homme et du citoyen:

"The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to contribute personally, or through their representatives, to its formation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to all public dignities, positions, and employments, according to their capacities, an without any other distinction than that of their virtues and their talents." quoted in James Swenson, On Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Stanford University Press 2000), p. 163.

James Swenson writes:
To my knowledge, the only time Rousseau actually uses the formulation "expression of the general will" is in a passage of the Discours sur l'economie politique, whose content renders it little susceptible of celebrity.. . . But it is indeed a faithful summary of his doctrine, faithful enough that commentators frequently adopt it without any hesitation. Among Rousseau's definitions of law, the textually closest variant can be found in a passage of the Lettres ecrites de la montagne summarizing the argument of Du contrat social, in which law is defined as "a public and solemn declaration of the general will on an object of common interest." (Lettres de la montagne, pp. 807-808.) p. 164 Swenson
See also: Patrick Riley The General Will before Rousseau (Princeton University Press, 1988) and Mark Hulliung "Rousseau, Voltaire and the Revenge of Pascal" in the Cambridge Companion to Rousseau, Patrick Riley, ed. (Cambridge University Press: 2000)pp. 57-77. (talk) 07:37, 9 March 2009 (UTC)


Should this article be merged with the general entry on Rousseau?[edit]

I don't think this should be merged with Rousseau's entry. -C

-NO MERGING- I really don't think this should be moved into Rousseau's entry b/c when people go looking for stuff about "general will" and have no idea what they are searching for b/c they are doing it for school (like me!), they won't be able to find anything about it b/c this system probably won't redirect it to the Rousseau article! -RLE

The article on 'gemeral will' should not be merged with the general entry for Rousseau. Instead there should be a seperation of the material specifically concerning the Social Contract, and the general information on Rousseau; if this were the case then I would recommend the article on general will to be merged with the article on the Social Contract. -

There should be a seperate artical on the Social Contract, agreed. It is not possible to go into detail on the very complex paradoxes present in his work within a general biography. And the Social Contract is a major piece of modern philosophy. -JP

Did you all forget how do use the ~~~~ signature feature..? Anyway, this article should *NOT* be merged. That is completely illogical, the tag is being removed. The French term page will now redirect here because it has been included in the title with a reference to it being French and being synonymous with "general will.." eesh. drumguy8800 - speak? 07:26, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

No merging on the two articles. MaynardClark (talk) 17:20, 23 January 2017 (UTC)


erm, dialog should be spelt dialogue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:30, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

That's a British-American difference, not a simple error. AnonMoos (talk) 20:31, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

21st century expressions[edit]

Al Gore declared in a speech at Harvard University that the climate crises present an evident need for a decision by the entire human species to find and will the implementation of that solution. MaynardClark (talk) 17:19, 23 January 2017 (UTC)