As a sequel to my series on Charles Taylor’s The Malaise of Modernity, I asked John Warner in to discuss Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s thoughts on the development of the modern self. Warner is an expert on Rousseau’s political thought. He is the author of Rousseau and the Problem of Human Relations (2018) and many articles on Rousseau. His most recent article deals with Rousseau on sincerity and self-deception. Charles Taylor’s book attempts to discern the original meaning of the concept of authenticity and invokes Rousseau as a source, arguing that along the way the concept of authenticity was corrupted into mere shallow narcissism. Warner’s views help us to understand to what extent Rousseau should be seen as contributing to the contemporary rendition of authenticity and how Rousseau can help shed light on the modern unsettled sense of self.
His latest article: