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History of Western Philosophy
by Bertrand Russell
[Rousseau to the Present Day]
Overview
From latter part of the eighteenth century, persisting in its influence on art literature and philosophy until the present day, the romantic outlook in its most essential form was a revolt against received ethical and aesthetic standards.
The father of romanticism. Russell identifies two main features of Rousseau's thinking which were relevant to the history of philosophical thought (though he made contributions elsewhere). The first in theology, the second in political theory.
XVIII The Romantic Movement
From latter part of the eighteenth century, persisting in its influence on art literature and philosophy until the present day, the romantic outlook in its most essential form was a revolt against received ethical and aesthetic standards.
origins
Began in 18th century France as an admiration of la sensibilite, which consisted primarily of a proneness to emotion, particularly of sympathy, preferably "direct and violent and quite uninformed by thought". Often hypocritical (perhaps Russell would have said "usually"), for example being moved to tears at the plight of a poor family but indifferent to proposals which might ameliorate their poverty.
Rousseau
Appealed to the existing cult of sensibility, adding depth and scope. Russell attrubutes to Rousseau a great deal of sensibility a complete lack of principle, and a contempt for convention in dress, manners, music, literature, art, love and morals.

Rousseaus most significant legacy as a philosopher was his ill-thought out political philosophy, which served to legitimate violent revolution, and totalitarian regimes. This political philosophy does not appear particularly romantic in content, sensibility plays no role in the state. It is romantic in that it derives from a romantic attachment to the democracy of the city state (as in ancient greece and the Geneva of Rouseeau's time) translated into political theory without sound judgement or effective intellectual analysis. It is romantic in being utopian, in embodying the mistake that effective improvements to social arrangements can be inspired by a good heart which should take precedence over intellectual scrutiny.
The period from 1600 to Rousseau was characterised my emotional constraint, it being thought that the intellect should restrain the expression of passion (which was "the chief aim of the education of a gentleman").
In the revolution pre-romantic aristocrats died quietly, but Madame Roland and Danton, who were romantics, died rhetorically.

Substitution of aesthetic for utilitarian standards. Change in taste and sense of beauty, for example from pastoral to "wild torrents, fearful precipices, pathless forests, thunderstorms, tempests at sea, and generally what is useless, destructive and violent".
Jane Austin makes fun of romantics in Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility
reason v. emotion
Like caricatures of rationalist and empiricist philosophers, placing the source of all knowledge in reason and the senses respectively, both the pre-romantics (among which in this respect we must number Russell) and the romantics have an extreme sense of the proper relation between the intellect and the emotions. The pre-romantics thought the emotions primitive and bad, expecting them to be constrained by the intellect. The romantics, admiring emotions, especially strong ones, thought them good, applauded the behaviour they inspire and thought the demands of rationality an unwarranted imposition.

This dichotomy, conspicuous at this point in time as romanticism emerged, persists down to the present day in philosophy through distinct tendencies in philosophy of which the pre-romantic tendency comes down to modern analytic philosophy and the romantic to existentialism.
XIX Rousseau
The father of romanticism. Russell identifies two main features of Rousseau's thinking which were relevant to the history of philosophical thought (though he made contributions elsewhere). The first in theology, the second in political theory.
Theology
Rousseau's contribution here is the kind of "argument" for the existence of God which consists in observing the magnificance of nature and taking this to be demonstration enough. A statement of his conception of natural religion given in "The Confession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar", an interlude in the fourth book of Emile.

This is for Russell an example of "basing beliefs as to objective fact on the emotions of the heart" an innovation which he abhors.
Politics
His political theory is to be found in "Social Contract" which differs from his other works according to Russell in lacking sentimentality and containing "much close intellectual reasoning". It is inspired by democratic ideals, but its tendency is to promote totalitarianism.

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