“Rousseau on Freedom in Commercial Society”, The American Journal of Political Science 60 (2): 352-363, April 2016.
- Rousseau consistently declares that commercial society prevents us from being free, because it makes us dependent on others and on endless desires in ways we cannot control. Yet, in Emile, Rousseau makes the surprising claim that it is possible for an elite to be free in commercial society. This possibility reveals a third way between the model of man and of citizen, i.e the model of natural man in society. I argue that it provides an original way of resisting dependence through a combination of distance from corrupt values and adaptation to the mechanisms of the economic market. Emile’s ultimate function, however, is critical in addition to being practical and pedagogical. By following Emile’s experiences the reader learns the unbearably high cost of commercial society: freedom within it is impoverished and available only to the few.
“On Political Responsibility in Post-Revolutionary TImes: Kant and Constant’s Debate on Lying”, European Journal of Political Theory, forthcoming 2016, published online June 2015.
- In ”On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy,” Kant holds the seemingly untenable position that lying is always prohibited, even if the lie is addressed to a murderer in an attempt to save the life of an innocent man. This article argues that Kant’s position on lying should be placed back in its original context, namely a response to Benjamin Constant about the responsibility of individual agents toward political principles in post-revolutionary times. I show that Constant’s theory of political responsibility, which sanctions the lie, is not based on expediency, but on principled realism, whereas Kant endorses a position that I describe as ‘political juridicism.’ This analysis enables us to uncover two plausible Republican theories of political responsibility in post-revolutionary times behind an apparently strictly ethical debate.
Chapters and Introductions in Edited Volumes
“Audi Alteram Partem: Rhetoric and Republican Political Thought,” in The Oxford Handbook of Rhetoric and Political Theory, ed. Keith Topper and Dilip Gaonkar, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
“Sur la neutralité libérale,” ed. R. Merril and G. Rousselière, Les Ateliers de l’Ethique, la revue du CREUM, Université de Montréal, vol. 4, n. 2, 2009.
“The Power of Political Economy. Review of Sophus Reinert’ s Translating Empire. Emulations and the Origins of Political Economy,’ The Review of Politics, vol. 74, n. 3, Summer 2012, pp. 530-533.
Sharing Freedom. Republican Democracy from Rousseau to Durkheim (Under consideration with Yale University Press)
- Sharing Freedom argues that an unprecedented model of republican democracy, different from its classical ancestor and its American sister, was developed in the course of the nineteenth century by thinkers faced with the challenge of sharing a robust form of freedom equally among a large population riddled with economic and social inequality. Comparing the diverse forms of republican discourses that constituted this ideal (liberal, Jacobin, social), the book unravels the strengths and weaknesses of this model of republican democracy from Rousseau to Durkheim.
Rousseau’s Economies (work in progress)
- While Rousseau’s economic views are often considered marginal to his political theory, I argue that his democratic theory cannot be properly understood without taking into account the radical change in social and economic attitudes that he advocates. Without gaining control over consumptive and acquisitive passions, a self-governing people will be unable to develop. I analyze Rousseau’s economic views (about commerce, distributive justice, the role of property, taxation, tariff, etc) in relation to the complex economy of passions and interests that he develops in both his political and more literary works. I show how Rousseau calls for a subordination of economics to a political and moral economy, which inspired contemporary critiques of capitalism.
Democracy in the Republic (co-edited with Yiftah Elazar, under contract with Cambridge University Press)
- The purpose of this collection of essays is to systematically and critically explore the prospects and potential problems of a republican theory and model of democracy. Taking as a starting point the neo-republican turn in the recent decades, and in particular Pettit’s recent restatement of neo-republicanism in On the People’s Terms (CUP 2013), this volume aims to contribute to the development of a vision of public life intended to serve as an alternative to liberalism. With the participation of leading scholars working on republicanism and democracy.
“Rousseau’s Theory of Value and the Case of Women” (Under review)
In Emile, Rousseau claims that the value of women ought to be determined by the opinion that men have of them. Women, contrary to commodities and men, escape what I call Rousseau’s “dual theory of value”. According to the latter, the apparent value of commodities and men is determined by opinion and either unrelated or inverse to “real value,” which is assessed through objective criteria. The dual theory of value is the basis of Rousseau’s critique of commercial society. However, women warrant an exception to this theory. As women’s apparent worth is their real worth, women are the unique object in the world that ought to be subjected to the rule of opinion, which is the rule of commercial market that Rousseau so violently rejects. This paper investigates why this is the case and locates three functions to the unique position of women in Rousseau’s theory of value.