Rousseau on multiplying partial associations

Sungho Kimlee, Gregory Conti, William Selinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Feb. 2022 Sungho Kimlee passed away. In his memory, we present this revised and abridged version of a portion of his dissertation, Factions and Orders: from Machiavelli to Madison. Sungho summarized the work as follows: “Since antiquity, thinkers have held that every society consists of two hostile orders–the few and the many. But they have disagreed on the proper method for defusing this civic divide, and their various proposed remedies can be classified into three approaches. The first approach aims to eliminate the division between the rich and the poor by abolishing private property. Plato’s Republic inaugurated this method, which was later embraced with ambivalence by Thomas More and vigorously defended by Karl Marx. The second approach merely aims to contain the harmful effects of the binary civic divide. Plato proposed two methods for accomplishing this in the Laws: Plutarch championed the first method, and Aristotle the second. My dissertation traces the genealogy of the third approach–the method of supplanting the binary civic divide with more numerous divisions. This oft-neglected method was pioneered by Rousseau, who prescribed the creation of artificial divisions by the state as a remedy for majority factions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-606
Number of pages18
JournalHistory of European Ideas
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


  • Madison
  • Rousseau
  • factions


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