An Analysis Of Rousseau 's ' On The Social Contract '

898 Words Mar 16th, 2016 4 Pages
Finding Meaning in Rousseau In “On the Social Contract,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously declares, “Man was/is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” In this essay, I will attempt to explain this famous quote of Rousseau’s. Moreover, through a careful exposition of “On the Social Contract,” I intend to explain Rousseau’s proposed solution to the conundrum of freedom in society. The preliminary investigation into Rousseau originates with an account of his assertion that, “Man was/is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Rousseau postulates that those who consider themselves as rulers of others are, in actuality, more of a slave. Although Rousseau does not indicate how this enigmatic condition transpires, he does consider that he can legitimize the contention. Using an analogy from Causality viz., there must be as much cause as there is in the effect; Rousseau explains that people have a tendency to obey the rules. As long as people are constrained to obey the rules, they do it rather well. Nevertheless, if people were not constrained to obey those rules, they would actually obey the rules better. Rousseau reasons that this analogy corresponds with regaining freedom by means of the same schemes that constricted the freedom in the first place. Specifically, those societal imperatives are a revered right that form the foundation for all other rights. These societal rights are not naturally occurring phenomena. They are, in themselves, based on an…
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