The leading thread of this interpretation of Rousseau's social, political, and ethical thought is the concept of authenticity. This theme is present, in one form or another, in all of Rousseau's works, and it is especially in the formulation and discussion of the dilemmas implicity in the quest for authenticity that we find Rousseau's modernity and relevance today. In Rousseau's philosophy we find the first attempt in the Western tradition to respond to the new tensions of modern ethics. Many of the social, political, and moral issues which troubled Rousseau continue to plague our society. Thus Rousseau's insightful critique of modernity can be of great value in understanding the problems of contemporary life.