Rousseau Reading 2

Rousseau Reading 2 - Rousseau pp 60-81 I Property A In the...

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Rousseau pp. 60-81 (10/10/06) I. Property A. In the state of nature, we live in our first society. Man has learned how to use tools and huts are built and families are constructed (p. 62) 1. This life was still simple and people were still content. Simplicity and contentment often go hand in hand. 2. There was simple love in this society, and if man could have stopped there, all would have remained well. a. In his other works, Rousseau talks of families who live in mountain huts, and these families remain self-sufficient. B. But for Rousseau, the problem is that we never stay in a simple society. C. The first person to create a civil society thought of the idea of property (p. 60). 1. Before property, we had to have language. Soon after private property comes a variety of social ills. a. However, one of the differences between Rousseau and Locke is that Locke believed property existed in the state of nature, while Rousseau believed that property was a feature of society. b. Without rules or language that people can agree on, we cannot have private property. D. Rousseau has five problems that result from private property: 1. Property multiplies human inequality. Rousseau thinks that it is obvious that we are unequal in the state of nature (physically), but these differences don't mean much. a. Only in civilized society do our different abilities and talents translate into something meaningful (p. 67). b. People use their different talents to make more money than others, and then these inequalities begin to multiply. i. While we have different abilities and talents, they become measured by one marker of inequality in civilized society: wealth (p. 78). ii. With the introduction of private property, there is material inequality. This becomes the most significant division in civil society. iii. We may have equal political rights, but what good are they if we have disparities in other realms? And what good is our vote if we are poor and have no political influence. 2. Property introduces conflicts of interest. i. In the state of nature, we are held together by the bonds of conjugal love. But property breaks down this peace and introduces conflicts of interest.
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