Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer (1712–1778)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (28 June 1712[1] – 2 July 1778) was a famous French-speaking philosopher. He was born in Geneva, Switzerland[1] and always described himself as being Genevan.[2]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1753
Born(1712-06-28)28 June 1712
Died2 July 1778(1778-07-02) (aged 66)
Era18th-century philosophy
(early modern philosophy)
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolSocial contract
Main interests
Political philosophy, music, education, literature, autobiography
Notable ideas
General will, amour de soi, amour-propre, moral simplicity of humanity, child-centered learning, civil religion, popular sovereignty, positive liberty, public opinion
The house where Rousseau was born

Early life


Rousseau lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment. His political ideology influenced the French Revolution and aided the development of nationalism and socialist theories.



Rousseau was also a composer, writing numerous books about music theory. Rousseau authored Confessions, an autobiography,[1] one of the first of its kind. Many later philosophers were influenced by him. He wrote a novel Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse,[1] which was a best-seller and influenced 19th century writers of romanticism.

Rousseau believed that men were born good and innocent, and that corruption and sadness happened because of life experiences and experiences in society. He believed that if society were gone, man would be happy and pure once again.

Rousseau is most famous for his social contract ideology, which is often compared to the social contract of John Locke. This ideology is stated in Rousseau's book, The Social Contract.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Gay, Peter (1966). "In Search of an Ideal Society". Age of Enlightenment. Time-Life Books. pp. 63-64.
  2. Bertram, Christopher (2020). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2020 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.