While I do not accept all of these rationalistic readings of the general will, I do share the general conviction that we can make sense of Rousseau's concept, and his argument, without resorting to metaphysics or psychology. What I shall offer here, accordingly, is in some respects only a variation on a theme now well known to students of Rousseau's political philosophy. It is an important variation nonetheless, for it enables us to reconcile passages in the Social Contract which otherwise appear to be contradictory. That, at least, is what I shall argue in this essay.
Copyright © 1981 Western Political Science Association. This article first appeared in Western Political Quarterly 34:3 (1981), 359-371.
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Dagger, Richard. "Understanding the General Will." Western Political Quarterly 34, no. 3 (September 1981): 359-71. doi: 10.2307/447216.