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Silence is germane to deliberation. Quieting the voices of others allows one to think clearly. It helps one define one’s own ideas and make choices in accordance with what one really thinks, rather than as a result of outside influences. Rousseau, in the Social Contract, suggests exactly this position when he claims that silence protects deliberating citizens from the influences of factions. This paper argues that silent political deliberation is important to Rousseau for an additional reason: it allows one’s own, uninfluenced sentiments to inform one’s political will. This unexplored interpretation has much value: the better we understand a citizen’s political deliberation, the better we may protect it and allow the citizen’s true voice to speak.

In: Silence, Implicite et Non-Dit chez Rousseau / Silence, the Implicit and the Unspoken in Rousseau
Silence, Implicite et Non-Dit chez Rousseau/Silence, the Implicit, and the Unspoken in Rousseau prend acte d’un grand nombre de publications ayant trait à l’analyse par Rousseau des langues et du langage, de la parole par rapport à l’écriture, de la voix (y compris la voix de la nature). Mais ce volume se consacre tout particulièrement au fonctionnement et aux effets du silence, de l’implicite et du non-dit dans la pensée de Rousseau. Son approche est à la fois polyvalente et cohérente, et ses réflexions sur le silence sont associées à d’autres préoccupations esthétiques, politiques, et morales de son œuvre.

Silence, Implicite et Non-Dit chez Rousseau/Silence, the Implicit, and the Unspoken in Rousseau capitalizes on a great number of publications dealing with Rousseau’s analysis of languages and language, speech versus writing, of voice (including the voice of nature). But this volume is particularly dedicated to the study of the functioning and the effects of silence, the implicit and the unspoken in Rousseau’s thought. His approach is both polyvalent and consistent, and his reflections on silence are associated with other aesthetic, political, and moral concerns in his work.