Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Myth as the social contract: A synthesis of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's concept of the origins of society with René Girard's theory of mythology
by Thompson, Jeffrey E., M.A., California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2007, 91; 1445163
Abstract (Summary)

The focal point of the study is the opposing views of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and René Girard on the origin of human culture. The study is a dialectical synthesis of two opposing philosophical positions, utilizing the written works of Rousseau and Girard to develop their theories on cultural formation and combine them into one coherent theory. Rousseau's hypothesis that culture forms peacefully is synthesized with Girard's hypothesis that culture forms violently. The particular significance of the study is that it corrects mistakes in Rousseau's theory of the social contract and also keeps Girard's research from omitting a vital function of myth in the constant renegotiation of the social contract. Girard's theory of mythology, that myth is the story of real violence at the genesis of human culture, shows that the social contract as described by Rousseau is the myth of the origin of society that serves to hold social order together.

Indexing (document details)
School: California State University, Dominguez Hills
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 46/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history, Philosophy, Social structure
Publication Number: 1445163
ISBN: 978-0-549-10229-8
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