Every reader can recognize the systematical and historical importance of sensibility in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s philosophy and literature. It could offer a crossing point for literary and philosophical perspectives. But does Rousseau possede a really coherent theory of faculty? The question should have emerged from ratonalist readers of Rousseau like Cassirer (1932) or Derathé (1948). But it was not the case. On the contrary, this problem has almost disappeared. This essay is an attempt to stabilish the criteria of this reconstruction. Our aim is first to understand the ambiguous status of sensibility in Émile: it is the starting point of Émile’s education of senses (books I and II) and it can only be passive, but also the basis of his education to morality (IV and V) and it can only be active. So, are we in front of one unique sensibility with two faces (or two moments), or in front of two sensibilities? Behind this sistematical reconstruction, the point is also historical: perhaps the reconstruction of Rousseau’s doctrine of sensibility could provide us a new basis to understand Kant and Rousseau relationships. We need Rousseau’s thoughts about sensibility to think Kant’s esthetics.
Keywords: Aesthetics, Faculty, Kant, Rationalism, Rousseau, Sensibility.