News & Publications
Lecture on French Philosopher Rousseau at St. John's College
FOR RELEASE: February 28, 2009
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey 410-626-2539
St. John's tutor Jeffrey Smith will give a lecture at St. John's College entitled, "Rousseau's Republic of Desire." The lecture will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium on Friday, March 27, at 8:15 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Rousseau (1712-1778) was an 18th-century French philosopher. The lecture will focus on passages from Rousseau's "Second Discourse," "Emile," and "On the Social Contract." Smith will explore the question: what is the proper place of desires within a polity that aims at virtue? He says, "While we are familiar with ancient texts that advise the political subordination or even suppression of desires, we are less accustomed to the view that certain desires are not only compatible with, but also necessary for, the realization of virtue in social and political life."
Smith received his bachelor's from Emory University in philosophy and political science and was also named a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities. He received his doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and joined St. John's as a tutor in 2001.