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"Ridiculous" Dream versus Social Contract: Dostoevskij, Rousseau, and the Problem of Ideal Society

Olga Stuchebrukhov
Studies in East European Thought
Vol. 59, No. 1/2, Dostoevskij's Significance for Philosophy and Theology (Jun., 2007), pp. 101-117, 169
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40345496
Page Count: 18
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"Ridiculous" Dream versus Social Contract: Dostoevskij, Rousseau, and the Problem of Ideal Society
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Abstract

Drawing on the Second Discourse and the Social Contract and Notes from Underground and "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," this essay examines the striking similarities and fundamental differences between Dostoevskij's and Rousseau's treatment of the problem of individual vs.society and their notions of ideal social relations. The essay investigates Rousseau's attempt to absorb morality into politics and "to concretize" Diderot's universal moral man into citizen. It also suggests that Dostoevskij takes Rousseau's attempt at concretization a step further by exposing humanist conceptions of man and society in general as fiction and creating a model of ideal society that absorbs morality, not into politics (as does Rousseau's model), but into the sanctity of the Word.

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