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Jean Jacques Rousseau is a well-known philosopher and social critic. In his major works, Emile and The Social Contract, he discussed several ideas like the nature of man, family relationships, people and the society, the state and government. In his books and discourses, he analysed and presented these issues to establish significant linkages between each idea…
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Download file to see previous pages This means that he believed that man is by nature a good being . Man in this state of nature can live freely as he can be and independent from others. He is only driven by his minimal desires usually his needs for survival like food and shelter. In this state of nature, there is no place for war because people are not focused in acquiring more possessions. They do not have to depend on each other for their existence as they are not compelled to have social interactions. But he believed that a social contract between people in a society exists. The freedom that people enjoyed is based on the General Will and not on their private will. There is no really need for policies or rules because they obey orders based on common sense. He used family relationships to elaborate the nature of man and his society, family being the basic political unit of a society. In the primitive societies, children obeyed their fathers for the reason of survival. They have to obey their fathers as long as they need to depend on him for their food, shelter, etc. .But at the age of maturity when the children already have the capacity or ability to provide for their needs, the natural bond between them has to be removed. They have to live independently, the children being freed from obeying their father and the father from the concern for his children. But in instances, they choose to stay together, then it is out of choice and not by nature. This is how primitive societies function in the state of nature according to Rousseau. The father and children relationship is analogous to the relationship of the political leader and its people. Father being the leader and the children are its people. Children are all born free and equal but they give up their freedom for their advantage. This happens when at the age of maturity and rationality, when a child could attend to his survival and becomes the master of his own, he chose to remain in the custody of his father. However, there is a difference between a father’s love for his children and a leader’s for his people. In the family, the father’s love for his children repays him for the concern that he bestows upon them; while, in the State, the pleasure of ruling makes up for the leader’s lack of love for his people (Dunn, 2002). In Rousseau’s point of view, it is not the nature of man to be bad but the society and the institutions within it that forces him to be evil. He argued that it is society, the restoration of arts and sciences, that corrupts the pure individual. Changes brought about by civilization have forced man to lose his natural goodness. For example the knowledge and progress that man has achieved in his life made him egoistic, greedy and ambitious. He developed a sense of private property and desires to acquire more of it. Private property was introduced when man started to make fences and claimed that land to be his. People were not easily satisfied and felt unfulfilled even in the peaceful state of nature, they seek for social interactions for self-actualization. So, they realized the need to form social institutions. However, these social institutions introduced them to different vices like drinking, smoking and gambling. In the end, the morality of mankind was destroyed. Rousseau also argued that the effects of civilization and development of human societies disrupted man’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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