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Born Free

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The academic world has failed to answer many important questions about the life and work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Like, if this celebrity philosopher, whose social contract outlined the republican fundamentals of legitimate political order, was really such a big damn deal, then why didn't Monty Python even mention him in "The Philosophers Song"? Descartes is there alongside Kant, Hume, and Wittgenstein. And it's not like Rousseau isn't a funny-sounding name. Nor is it hard to rhyme. But when it came to ol' J.J.'s stout drinking habits, the Pythons, it seems, had nothing to say.

Once again, this vastly fascinating topic is being completely ignored by a distinguished panel of experts who are coming to Memphis to participate in "Rousseau at 300," a free symposium and celebration of the philosopher's tricentennial at Rhodes College, September 27th-28th.

Instead of pursuing a Pythonic model by focusing on things like stability and liquor consumption, visiting professors from Boston College, St. Michael's College, and UC-Davis will deliver lectures on relatively unimportant things like the pursuit of happiness, the origins of evil, childhood development, and the politics of standing apart from the crowd. "Rousseau at 300" at Rhodes College, Thursday-Friday, September 27th-28th. This "Communities in Conversation" event is free, but attendees are requested to register online with Rhodes College at the following online address: alumni.rhodes.edu/rousseau.

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