Rousseau

Rousseau - Rousseau- The Demise of Mans Freedom...

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Rousseau- The Demise of Man’s Freedom Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract is an essay delving into the origins and history of inequalities in men as we know them. In The Second Discourse of the essay, Rousseau speaks to man’s inequalities, and expresses: On the other hand, man, heretofore free and independent, was now in consequence of a multitude of new needs, brought into subjection, as it were, to all nature, and especially to his fellows, whose slave in some sense he became, even by becoming their master; if rich, he stood in need of their services, if poor, of their assistance; even mediocrity itself could not enable him to do without them (Rousseau, 122). These words allude to the main points that Rousseau is aiming to make throughout this essay. Men have lost their freedom while simultaneously losing their self-sufficiency. The peaceful, pleasant man that had once inhabited the earth in his most natural state, was transformed into a slave of his own wants and possessions. Unlike his often pessimistic counterpart Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau paints a colorful picture of man’s natural state through his first and second discourses. The ideals portrayed in the Social Contract exemplify Rousseau’s thought that man is inherently good, peaceful and free. The quote being analyzed exhibits that men became unequal as a result of new needs, however, it is important to understand that Rousseau already acknowledged some inequalities in men before the introduction of these new needs. Natural, or physical inequalities, he states, consist in the differences of age, health, bodily strength, and qualities of mind or soul. In Rousseau’s opinion, is not difficult to see where natural inequalities stem from. However, it is the origin of moral or political inequalities such as being richer, more honored or more powerful, that is up for debate (Rousseau, 87). Factors of greed, natural inequalities, and division of instincts all converge within men to create the moral inequalities we have come to know.
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Thomas Hobbes would be likely to combat the ideas about the state of nature that Rousseau illustrates. Hobbes believed that man was inherently evil in the state of nature, and only through centralized control, could man act in a peaceful way. Rousseau questions the validity of that claim though, seeing natural man as a free and peaceful
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Rousseau - Rousseau- The Demise of Mans Freedom...

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