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O'Neal Questions Facebook Connection for Rousseau Studies


John C. O'Neal
John C. O'Neal

In a recent article, Professor of French John C. O'Neal wonders how Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a great champion of radical individualism and authenticity, would have reacted to Facebook, one of our most prevalent forums today for talking about the self.

O'Neal argues that Rousseau largely eschewed public opinion, the dehumanizing effects of which he found particularly pernicious for himself personally and for society as a whole. The liberating effects of social media, however, such as we witnessed in the Arab Spring, would have appealed to him. See his "Rousseau à l'âge de Facebook: L'authenticité et le défi de l'opinion publique dans Les Dialogues," in Jean-Jacques Rousseau et l'exigence d'authenticité: Une question pour notre temps, ed. Jean-François Perrin and Yves Citton (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014), pp. 207-20.

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