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Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) was a Swiss philosopher and writer. Published in 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Émile, or On Education, outlines his educational philosophy through a novelistic account of the tutoring of a fictionalized boy and girl, Émile and Sophie. While reflecting the ordered reasoning, ontology, and epistemology of the Enlightenment and John Locke's faculty psychology, Émile also stands on the cusp of the emerging Romantic sensibility, to which the book would contribute much.

Émile follows the tutoring of Émile through different developmental stages, and the book in this way establishes the modern psychological and educational concept of natural development. Before Rousseau's work, the child was viewed by educators as a “small adult,” deficient and in need of reform through education; after Émile, we see the emergence of ...

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