Aris Stylianou: Obscure light: Rousseau’s critic of the Enlightenment

The purpose of this paper is to present Rousseau’s argumentation against the basic idea of the Enlightenment, i.e. the concept of continuous progress. Focusing in his earliest text Discourse on the Sciences and Arts, the paper tries to show for what reason Rousseau argued that progress in science and in civilization was actually corrupting humanity. After dealing with the different elements of Rousseau’s political theory, the paper concludes that his critical view of the Enlightenment can be understood as a notion of ‘obscure light’.