Hobbes VS. Locke VS. Rousseau
Hobbes VS. Locke VS. Rousseau
“I am at the point of believing, that my labor will be as useless as the commonwealth of Plato. For Plato, also is of the opinion that it is impossible for the disorders of the state ever to be taken away until sovereigns be philosophers . . . I recover some hope that one time or other this writing of mine may fall into the hands of a sovereign who will consider it for himself, for it is short, and I think clear. ” -The Monster of Malmesbury (Thomas Hobbes), Leviathan1 Thomas Hobbes was born at Westport near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, England. 2 A wealthy uncle paid for his education and sent him to Magdalen Hall, Oxford.
3 Hobbes lived at a time of immense intellectual excitement, and the universities of his day were far from being at the cutting-edge of intellectual advance. 4 The Oxford curriculum still consisted largely of scholastic logic and metaphysics, which he regarded as sterile pedantry and for which he had nothing good to say. 5 Leaving university with a degree in scholastic logic and, it has been said, several more degrees of contempt for Aristotle in particular, and universities in general, Hobbes obtained a post as tutor to the Earl of Devonshire.
6 He travelled widely with the Duke, moving in increasingly aristocratic circles and even meeting the celebrated Italian astronomer Galileo, in 1636. 7 Hobbes also met another important figure, Sir Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon was a philosopher who rejected the Aristotelian logic and system, which basically was a speculative system, started out from some major assumptions and through deductions developed his philosophical system. 8 Thomas Hobbes has a more cynical and realistic, view of human nature than the Greeks.
9 Whilst he agrees that people have regard for their self-interest, there is little else Hobbes will accept from the ancients. 10 Hobbes was considered by many of his contemporaries to be, if not actually an atheist, certainly a heretic. 11 Indeed, after the Great Plague of 1666, in which 60,000 Londoners died, and the Great Fire straight afterwards, a parliamentary committee was set up to investigate whether heresy might have contributed to the two disasters. 12 The list of possible causes includes Hobbes’ writings. 13 Hobbes’ books are a strange mixture of jurisprudence, religious enthusiasm, and political iconoclasm.
14 Hobbes’ political theory, then is that of someone who experienced both the English Civil War and the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. 15 This fact is important to our understanding of it. 16 He formulated his political ideas several times, but it is in Leviathan that they find their most complete and influential statement. 17 His approach to politics is self-consciously scientific. 18 His technique of enquiry is delivered partly from the ‘resolutive-compositive’ method associated with Galileo and Bacon, and partly from the deductive reasoning that had so impressed him in Euclid.
19 If we are to arrive at a sound understanding of politics, we must first analyze or resolve social wholes into their smallest component parts: namely, individual human beings. 20 Then, having studied the properties and behavior of those parts in isolation, we can deduce from them, as it were from first principles, rational conclusions about social and political organization. 21 He breaks down (by analysis) social phenomena into their basic constituents, and only then synthesizes these to produce a new theory.
22 It is this technique, as much as his theory of power as the motivating spring of mankind, that makes Hobbes a distinctly modern thinker. 23 His materialism is central to his account of human behavior. 24 The body of each human being is, he thinks, only a complex mechanism, somewhat like a clock. 25 Hobbes has a mechanistic Weltanschauung. We are bodies in constant motion. 26 He seems in other words, to have a kind of materialistic psychology in which human behavior exhibits the same, as it were, mechanical tendencies as billiard balls that can be understood as obeying, again, geometric or causal processes of cause and effect.
27 Before we proceed to his account of the state of nature, we will explore first some of his important ideas. First, is his skeptical view of knowledge. Hobbes was obsessed with the question about what can I know or, maybe put a different way, what am I entitled to believe, and there are many passages in Leviathan that testify to Hobbes’ fundamentally skeptical view of knowledge. 28 He is a skeptic not because he believes that we can have no foundations for our beliefs, but he is skeptic in the sense that there can be no, on his view, transcendent of nonhuman foundations for our beliefs.
29 We cannot be certain, he thinks, of the ultimate foundations of our knowledge and this explains you may have wondered about this, this explains the importance he attributes to such things as naming and attaching correct definitions to things. 30 Knowledge, in other words, is for Hobbes a human construction and it is always subject to what human beings can be made to agree upon and that skeptical view of knowledge or at least skeptical view of the foundation of knowledge has far reaching consequences for him.
31 This argument of Hobbes resembles the thesis of Berger and Luckmann’s book. The ongoing process of objectivation-externalization-internalization to construct, reconstruct, and deconstruct the world. In other words, knowledge and human reality is ‘socially constructed’. 32 If all knowledge, according to Hobbes, ultimately rests on agreement about shared terms, he infers from that our reason, our rationality, has no share in what Plato or Aristotle would have called the divine Noos, the divine intelligence.
33 Our reason does not testify to some kind of inner voice of conscience or anything that would purport to give it some kind of indubitable foundation. 34 Such certainty as we have about anything is for Hobbes always provisional, discovered on the basis of experience and subject to continual revision in the light of further experience, and that again experiential conception of knowledge. 35 Next, is his idea of the laws of nature. Fear is the basis, even of what Hobbes called the various laws of nature.
36 The laws of nature for Hobbes are described as a precept or a general rule of reason that every man ought to endeavor peace and it is out of fear that we begin to reason and see the advantages of society; reason is dependent upon the passions, upon fear. 37 The natural laws for Hobbes are not divine commands or ordinances, he says, but they are rules of practical reason figured out by us as the optimal means of securing our well-being. 38 Ignorance of the law of nature is no excuse. 39 According to Prof.
Bacale-Ocampo LlB, there are two doctrines of the natural law: everyone must seek peace and follow it, and man being able, if others were too. 40 Hobbes also said that there can be no unjust laws. There are two reasons for this proposition, according to Prof. Bacale-Ocampo LlB: law precedes justice, and the sovereign is the embodiment of all the people’s rights. 41 This argument justifies Hobbes’ defense of the absolute and authoritarian power of his sovereign. The power of the sovereign, Hobbes continually insists, must be unlimited. 42 This notion also resembles Art.
XVI, Sec. III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, that, “The State may not be sued without its consent. ” In a very real sense, a suit against the State by its citizens is, in effect, a suit against the rest of the people represented by their common government – an anomalous and absurd situation indeed. 43 Now, let’s go to his notion of the state of nature. The state of nature, a shocking phrase calculated to arouse the wrath of the Church, directly conflicting with the rosy biblical image of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.
44 Hobbes thinks the ‘human machine’ is programmed to direct its energies selfishly. 45 He doubts if it is ever possible for human beings to act altruistically, and even apparently benevolent action is actually self-serving, perhaps an attempt to make them feel good about themselves. 46 Hobbes tells us, “. . . in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of Power after Power, that ceaseth only in Death. ”47 The desire for power is the cause of human strife and conflict. 48 Finally, Hobbes most quoted statement, that in the state of nature, “.
. . there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the Commodities that may be imported by Sea; no Commodious Building; no instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. ”49 The state of nature is simply a kind of condition of maximum insecurity.
50 Hobbes continues, “Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called War; and such a War, as is of every man against every man . . . the nature of war, consisteth not in actual fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary. ”51 There are three principle causes of quarrel. The first is competition, for gain; the second is diffidence and a compulsion for safety; whilst the final one is the compulsion for glory, and for reputation.
52 Yet they all precipitate violence. 53 Hobbes tells us, “The first use violence, to make themselves Masters of other men’s persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue either direct in their Persons, or by reflection in their Kindred, their Friends, their Nation, their Profession, or their Name. ”54 Hobbes also asks the readers, “Let him, the reader, therefore ask himself, when taking a journey he arms himself and seeks to go well accompanied.
When going to sleep, he locks his doors even when in his house, and even when in his house he locks his chest and this, when he know, he says, there be laws and public officers armed to avenge all injuries shall be done to him . . . Does he not therefore as much accuse mankind by his action as I do by my words? ”55 In short, the members of the Hobbesian state of nature employs the classic prisoner’s dilemma. The strategic interests of the two individuals are antithetical to each other, and that keeps them from forming a social solidarity that would be best for them altogether.
56 The prisoner’s dilemma is analogous to a social world in which public goods would be quite valuable to have, but in which individuals would lose something from contributing to the public good as long as other people do not. 57 There has to be an assurance that the other side will live up to the bargain; but there is no way of knowing that, and in fact one can figure out that other people will act just like oneself. 58 Whether one assumes that the other person is ultimately selfish, or merely distrusting, the outcome is the same.
59 Rational selfish individuals dealing with other rational selfish individuals will never sacrifice anything to the public good, since it would be a waste. 60 That is what makes the situation a dilemma. 61 Hobbes constructed his state of nature, using logic, not using historical data. The state of nature, for him, is rather a kind of thought experiment after the manner of experimental science. 62 Hobbes is the, again, the great founder of what we might call, among others, is the experimental method in social and political science.
63 How can we escape the horror of the Hobbesian state of nature? By establishing a sovereign by means of a social contract. He would understand (1) that it is rationally necessary to seek peace; (2) that the way to secure peace is to enter into an agreement with others not to harm one another; and (3) that having entered into such an agreement, it would be irrational, in the sense of self-defeating, to break it for as long as the others kept it. 64 By this chain of reasoning, society would be created.
65 It would be created by an agreement – a ‘compact’, as Hobbes calls it – made by individuals no one of whom has interest in anyone else’s good per se, but each of whom realizes that his own good can be secured only by agreeing not to harm others in return for their agreement not to harm him. 66 But, there must be an enforcer, because Hobbes argues that, “Covenants without the sword are but words, and of no strength to secure a man at all. ”67 So the people will have to, “Confer all power and strength upon one Man, or upon one assembly of men, that may reduce all their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one Will . . .
This is more than Consent, or Concord; it is a real Unity of them all, in one and the same Person, made by Covenant of every man with every man . . . that Great Leviathan, the Commonwealth, and it comes about when either one man by War subdueth his enemies to his will, or when men agree amongst themselves, to submit to some Man, or Assembly of men, voluntarily, on confidence to be protected by him against all others. ”68 The sovereign is created by, but not a party to, the compact. 69 He therefore cannot be got rid of because he is in reach of the compact. 70 If he could be, his power would not, after all, be sovereign.
71 Hobbes remains one of the most impressive and influential of English political theorists. 72 He is also, though he several times twits himself on his own timidity, a writer of considerable intellectual courage, who expressed unpopular views at a time when it was dangerous – mortally dangerous, indeed – to do so. 73 He also “provides an antidote to the high-minded reasoning of the schoolmen and indeed the Ancients. ”74 Starting from a pragmatic assessment of human nature, he strengthens the case for a powerful political and social apparatus organizing our lives.
75 And with his interest in the methods of geometry and the natural sciences, he brings a new style of argument to political theorizing that is both more persuasive and more effective. 76 But from Hobbes we also obtain a reminder that social organization, however committed to fairness and equality it may be intended to be, being motivated by a struggle between its members, is also inevitably both authoritarian and inegalitarian. 77 Virtually all subsequent attempts to treat politics and political behavior philosophically have in some sense had to take Hobbes into account. 78
“Though the water running in the fountain be everyone’s, yet who can doubt but that in the pitcher is his only who drew it out? ” -John Locke, Second Treatise79 John Locke was born into a Puritan family in Somerset, England. 80 His father was a country lawyer who raised a troop of horse and fought on the parliamentary side in the Civil War. 81 Locke went up to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1652. 82 Like Hobbes before him, Locke found the old fashioned Scholastic curriculum uncongenial, though his association with Christ Church was to last, with interruptions, for more than thirty years.
83 He became a senior student – that is, a Fellow – in 1659. 84 In 1667 he became medical adviser and general factotum of Anthony Ashley Cooper, created first Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672. 85 When Shaftesbury was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1672, Locke became his secretary. 86 Earl Shaftesbury went on to three notable political achievements: he led the opposition to Charles II, he founded the Whig Party, the forerunner of the Liberals, and he pushed Locke into politics.
87 John Locke is a kind of ‘lowest common denominator’ of political philosophy, the intellectual forebear of much of today’s political orthodoxy, a role that befits a thinker of a naturally orthodox turn of mind. 88 He also “fitted the times very well (Bertrand Russell even described him as the ‘apostle of the Revolution of 1688’). 89 His philosophy was actively adopted by contemporary politicians and thinkers; his influence was transmitted to eighteenth-century France through the medium of Voltaire’s writings, and inspired the principles of the French Revolution.
90 And his views would spread still more widely, through the writings of Thomas Paine, eventually shaping the American Revolution too. 91 Although Locke’s reputation as a philosopher rests almost entirely on the epistemological doctrines expressed in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he made a great and lasting contribution to political thought. 92 This contribution consists mainly in his Two Treatises of Government, especially in the Second Treatise. 93 It is usual to regard the First Treatise as being mainly of antiquarian interest.
94 It is in the Second Treatise that Locke presents his own ideas. 95 The proper title of the treatise is ‘An Essay Concerning the True, Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government. ’96 The master of Locke’s own residential college at Oxford, Balliol College, described Mr. Locke as the ‘master of taciturnity’, because he could not discover, through questioning and so on, Locke’s opinions on religious and political matters. 97 Before we proceed to his notion of the state of nature, we will first explore some of his major ideas. First is his account of the law of nature.
There is no modern thinker that I’m aware of who makes natural law as important to his doctrine as does Locke. 98 The law of nature, Locke tells us, “willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind. ”99 Locke adds, the “law of nature . . . obliges everyone; and reason which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions. ”100 Locke also offers the three fundamental rights: life, health, and property. These three rights can never be overruled even by the government.
They are also our natural rights, they are pre-political, it means that they are already our rights even before the establishment of the government. The interesting thing about these fundamental rights is that it is paradoxical. There are two reasons for this paradox. The first is that, “our rights are less fully mine. ”101 Our rights were given by God. Locke tells us, “For men, being all the workmanship of one Omnipotent and Infinitely Wise Maker, they are his property whose workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another’s pleasure.
”102 The second reason is that, “because our rights are unalienable, they are more deeply mine. ”103 These three Lockean fundamental rights influenced the famous 1776 U. S. Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ”104 It’s like the ghost of John Locke who wrote this declaration, not Thomas Jefferson.
Every sentence of this declaration has something like a Lockean spirit or fingerprint. This Lockean principle also influenced our present Constitution. Art. III, Sec. I of the 1987 Constitution states that, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. ”105 Next, his theory of private property. Locke’s “account of property; certainly, in many ways, one of the most characteristic doctrines of Lockean political thought.
”106 In the beginning the whole world was America, explains Locke, meaning that the world was an unexploited wilderness, before, through the efforts of people, there came farms and manufactures and buildings and cities. 107 With these come trade, and money. 108 But although property is the foundation of political society, Locke traces its origin back not to commerce, but to ‘the conjugal union. ’109 The first society was between man and wife, and later their children. 110 Locke’s view of human nature is that we are very much the property-acquiring animal.
111 Locke tells us, “Every man has a property in his own person, this nobody has any right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hands, we may say are properly his. ”112 This is one of the major premises of Robert Nozick and other libertarian thinkers, that we own ourselves. Locke continues, “Whatsoever then he removes out of that state of nature has provided and left it in, he has mixed his labor with, and joined to it something that in his own and thereby makes it his property. ”113 Locke anticipates Marx’s Labor Theory of Value.
Locke continues, “For this labor being the unquestionable property of the laborer no man but he can hence a right, to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough and as good left in common for others. ”114 Locke adds, “As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by his labor, does as it were, enclose it from the common. ”115 One of the most famous passages in the Second Treatise is that, “God gave the world to men in common, but since He gave it to them for their benefit and the greatest conveniences of life that they were capable to draw from it .
. . it cannot be supposed He meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and the rational and not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious. ”116 Locke seems to suggest, that the state will be a commercial state, that the Lockean republic, the Lockean state will be a commercial republic. 117 Labor becomes, for Locke, his source of all value and our title to common ownership and in a remarkable rhetorical series of shifts, he makes not nature, but rather human labor and acquisition the source of property and of unlimited material possessions.
118 The new politics of the Lockean state will no longer be concerned with glory, honor, thumos, virtue, but Lockean politics will be sober, will be pedestrian, it will be hedonistic, without sublimity or joy. 119 Locke is the author of the doctrine that commerce softens manners, that it makes us less warlike, that it makes us civilized. 120 On the ground of Locke’s claim of self-ownership as the foundation of rights and justice, I will offer one of the major criticisms to this view. This is the ‘difference principle’ of one of my favorite political philosophers, John Rawls.
First, “Lockean theory of justice, broadly speaking, supports a meritocracy sometimes referred to as ‘equality of opportunity’, that is, what a person does with his or her natural assets belongs exclusively to him, the right to rise or fall belongs exclusively to him. ”121 Rawls’ principle “maintains that our natural endowments, our talents, our abilities, our family backgrounds, our history, our unique histories, our place, so to speak, in the social hierarchy, all of these things are from a moral point of view something completely arbitrary.
122 None of these are ours in any strong sense of the term. 123 They do not belong to us but are the result of a more or less kind of random or arbitrary genetic lottery or social lottery of which I or you happen to be the unique beficiaries. 124 No longer can I be regarded as the sole proprietor of my assets or the unique recipient of the advantages or disadvantages I may accrue from them. 125 Rawls concludes, I should not be regarded as a possessor but merely the recipient of what talents, capacities, and abilities that I may, again, purely arbitrary happen to possess.
126 The difference principle is a principle for institutions, not for individuals. 127 This is not to say that the difference principle does not imply duties for individuals – it creates innumerable duties for them. 128 It means rather that the difference principle applies in the first instance to regulate economic conventions and legal institutions, such as the market mechanism, the system of property, contract, inheritance, securities, taxation, and so on.
129 The direct application of the difference principle to structure economic institutions and its indirect application to individual conduct, exhibit what Rawls means when he says that the ‘primary subject of justice is the basic structure of society. ’130 The basic structure of society consists of the arrangement of the political, social, and economic institutions that make social cooperation possible and productive.
131 These institutions have a profound influence on individuals’ everyday lives, their characters, desires, and ambitions, as well as their future prospects. 132 The difference principle also “requires that economic institutions be designed so that the least advantaged class enjoys a greater share of income, wealth, and economic powers more generally, than it would under any other economic arrangement (with the important qualification that the final distribution is compatible with equal basic liberties and fair equal opportunities).
133 We should follow the principle that would be chose under ideal conditions not because it is rational for us to use such a procedure (in the narrow sense of rationality), and not because doing so would maximize total overall utility, but because doing so embodies fundamental values to which Rawls thinks, we are already committed, the values of freedom and equality. 134 In structuring a just society, we must also employ what Rawls called ‘the veil of ignorance’. The situation where you don’t know who you will be.
135 Using the DP and the veil of ignorance, we can assure that the cake will be sliced equally. There are other important Lockean ideas, that I wish to address, but for the main reason of limiting my paper, I won’t discuss them anymore. These important ideas are the Lockean idea of a limited government (which resembles our present form of government), his ‘Appeal to Heaven’ doctrine or the right of the people to rebel against an unjust government (this doctrine is also embodied in the Art. II, Sec. I, of the 1987 Constitution), and his famous doctrine of consent.
Now, let’s proceed to the Lockean version of the state of nature. Like Hobbes, Locke makes use of the idea of a state of nature as an explanatory conceit which to build his political theory. 136 As with Hobbes, and despite some ambiguity of language, the argument is not really a historical one. 137 Locke does not take Hobbes’ pessimistic view of how ungoverned human beings would behave in relation to each other. 138 Unlike Hobbes, he does not depict the state of nature as an intolerable condition in which the amenities of civilization are impossible.
139 The drawbacks of Locke’s state of nature would be no worse than ‘inconveniences’. 140 The ‘continous inconveniences’ is that men in the state of nature were both the judge and executor of the law of nature. Locke tells us, “The execution of the law of nature is, in that state, put into every man’s hands, whereby everyone has a right to punish the transgressor of that law to such a degree as may hinder its violation. ”141 Everyone can enforce the law of nature. Locke adds, “One may destroy a man who makes war upon him . . .
for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such man . . . have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and he may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy the, whenever he feels into their power. ”142 How can we escape the ‘inconveniences’ of Locke’s state of nature? Civil government is the proper remedy for the inconveniences of the state of nature. 143 Just like his great predecessor Hobbes, we must mutually agree to give up our enforcement power by means of a social contract.
Locke tells us, “Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free and equal and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent . . . when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority . . . to move . . . whither the greater force carries it. ”144 Locke has no particular view about the form of government should take, as long as it is based on popular consent.
145 It may be a republic, but it could be an oligarchy and there might still be a monarch. 146 But whatever form the government takes, Locke says, it does need to include some ‘separation of powers’, and sets out fairly precisely the distinction to be made between the law-making part of government – the legislature – and the action-taking part – the executive. 147 The executive must have the power to appoint and dismiss the legislature, but it does not make the one superior to the other, rather there exists a ‘fiduciary trust’.
148 According to Locke’s view of government, there are only two parties to the trust: the people, who is both trustor and beneficiary, and the legislature, who is trustee. 149 The principal characteristic of a trust is the fact that the trustee assumes primarily obligations rather than rights. 150 The purpose of the trust is determined by the interest of the beneficiary and not by the will of the trustee.
151 The trustee is little more than a servant of both trustor and beneficiary, and he may be recalled by the trustor in the event of neglect of duty. 152 Locke also tells us that, “The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths and putting themselves under government is the preservation of their property. ”153 Property here is the general term for life, liberty, and estates or possessions. This Lockean idea is also embodied in the famous The Federalist No. 10 of James Madison, “The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.
The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. ”154 Locke – jointly, perhaps, with Hobbes – is the most influential of all English political theorist. 155 His political writing, like all political writing, is a response to the issues and events of a specific time and place, and reflects a particular perception of those issues and events. 156 Locke creates a picture of the world in which ‘rationality’ is the ultimate authority, not God, and certainly not, as Hobbes had insisted brute force.
157 He insists that people have certain fundamental rights and also attempt to return the other half of the human race, the female part, to their proper, equal, place in history, the family and government. 158 Locke’s legacy is the first, essentially practical, even legalistic, framework and analysis of the workings of society. 159 That is his own particular contribution to its evolution. 160 “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. ” -the citizen of Geneva (Jean-Jacques Rousseau), The Social Contract161.
Rousseau was born in Geneva in 1712, the son of a Calvinist watchmaker. 162 It was his father who brought him up, his mother having died in childbirth. 163 His father also gave Rousseau a great love of books, but otherwise he had little formal education. 164 At the age of fifteen he ran away from home and began a life of solitary wandering. 165 His was a difficult, hypersensitive personality, with a towering sense of his own genius. 166 Although capable of intense friendship, his relationships never lasted.
167 After leaving Switzerland, Rousseau lived in Savoy and worked in Italy, before gravitating to Paris, at the time the leading intellectual centre in Europe. 168 There he associated with the Enlightenment thinkers – the philosophes – and particularly Diderot. 169 Rousseau contributed articles (mainly on musicology) to their great project, the Encyclopedia, but although he subscribed to some of their beliefs he was never a committed member of the group. 170 He developed his own ideas that differed radically from their fashionable cult of reason and from establishment orthodoxy.
171 Indeed, Rousseau’s most striking characteristic is his originality. 172 He changed the thinking of Europe, having an impact on political theory, education, literature, ethics, ideas about the self and its relationship to nature, and much else. 173 These influences, together with his elevation of emotion and will above reason, make him the major precursor of the Romantic movement. 174 His early ‘Discourses’ offended the philosophes, while his two most famous works, Emile and The Social Contract (both 1762), outraged the authorities, particularly because of their.
Subject: Political philosophy,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 17 November 2016
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