1. What passions are not entirely natural, according to Rousseau?
How do we come to possess them?
2. How does Rousseau distinguish human sentiments from the impulses
of animal nature?
3. How does Rousseau define "self-love" (amour de
soi) and selfishness (amour-propre)? How does the
latter rise from the former?
4. How according to Rousseau do our hateful and angry passions
5. What does Rousseau argue is the role of reason in love? What
does he mean when he says that "love does not spring from nature"?
How does this effect his evaluation of love?
6. How does Rousseau explain the rise of our gentler passions,
including our love of others and our pity?
7. What sort of society or community would result from the development
of the passions that Rousseau associates with selfishness (amour-propre)?
8. What sort of society or community would result from encouraging
our sentiment of pity, as Rousseau urges us to do?
9. What role does human equality play for Rousseau in this selection
from the Emile? What benefits or disadvantages would come
in Rousseau's analysis by recognizing equality as a core principle
1. What harmful effects does Rousseau see in our reliance on the
opinions of others? How does Tocqueville have a different view of
the place of opinion in human life, including our desire to achieve
honor? In what ways does this selection from Rousseau address Tocqueville's
and Lincoln's concerns with ambition?
2. Compare and contrast Rousseau's concern with nurturing pity
with Tocqueville's advice to encourage ambition. How did they arrive
at their different prescriptions for society? Do they have different
views of what is best in human nature?
3. To what extent do can we understand the thought of Rousseau,
Tocqueville, and Jefferson as different responses to democracy?
What sort of democratic political orders might be grounded in each's
view of humanity?