Rousseau Reading 1

Rousseau Reading 1 - Rousseau: 10/05/06 I. Rousseau wrote...

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Rousseau: 10/05/06 I. Rousseau wrote in the enlightenment A. He agreed with the idea that we should base our thinking on reason, but he did not think that this would lead to Eutopia. He thought it was possible for reason to lead to our downfall. 1. Voltaire was also an important figure in the Enlightenment; he tried to change France, reform the criminal justice system and reform the political system. Voltaire and Rousseau are opposites in regards to the Enlightenment. B. Rousseau does not separate his personal life from his political theory. He believed that the latter was an intensely political experience. 1. Through looking at himself, he sees everything wrong with society, but he also sees everything that could be good. 2. Inequality pushed Rousseau out of Geneva; had things been more equal, he would not have had to wander throughout Europe and leave five children behind. C. Rousseau sees the whole world as his audience (p. 39). 1. In this book, Rousseau looks to put the whole world on trial. He wants the world to think about what it could have been and about what it was. a. He seeks to compare natural man to civilized man. By looking at other possible worlds, Rousseau wants to show us what is wrong with ours. b. He seeks to give us a vantage point to examine the ills and benefits of our society. As a wanderer, Rousseau feels as if he can physically and mentally remove himself easier from society than most people. c. He criticizes everyone in society, focusing on people's weaknesses and depravity (p. 91) He even criticizes the food people eat. 2. Men today, according to Rousseau, are timid, feeble and servile. We are eager to seek only our own gain. II. Looking at the state of nature helps Rousseau to make the comparison between civil man and natural man (p. 38) A. He wants to look at a hypothetical state of nature in order to discern how corrupt and depraved current society is. 1.
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This note was uploaded on 01/20/2012 for the course POLI 271 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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Rousseau Reading 1 - Rousseau: 10/05/06 I. Rousseau wrote...

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