Locke And Rousseau 's Natural State Of Nature

1252 WordsFeb 14, 20176 Pages
Both Locke and Rousseau describe the natural state of man as being innately free, although their opinions on freedom differ. In Second Treatise of Government, Locke depicts man as being naturally free because he believes that, in nature, we are able to do as we please and every person is equal. Rousseau describes the natural man as being free from the corruption and desires that society forces onto man. Locke and Rousseau agree that the best state is the freest, and that the purpose of a social contract ought to be to preserve mankind, his freedom, and his goodwill. In Second Treatise of Government, Locke describes man in his state of nature to be inherently free. He claims that we possess the natural rights to protect ourselves, our…show more content…
Although the people are given the protection of the government, they must give up some of their natural freedoms and rights in order to conform to the common laws of the civil state. The objective of the state is to maintain the freedom of each person for the purpose of the collective preservation of man. Locke views those who breach the natural laws of a society as threatening mankind’s preservation, and that everyone must join the social contract for the purpose of preservation. Similar to Locke, Rousseau, in his Discourse on Inequality, argues that we must first examine the natural state of man before understanding laws and society. He claims that, by nature, we are compassionate creatures. Rousseau believes that society is undeniably corrupt; he suggests that, to understand the true nature of man, we must rid ourselves of this corruption. Rousseau claims that people living in society are not free. He suggests the civilized world is unauthentic and that we are preoccupied by unattainable desires—that is, to possess everything and be the best. Rousseau introduces the idea of “amour propre” as a way by which man is untrue to himself and to others. He wants to control and dominate his fellow citizens and, by consequence, is enslaved by these desires. Virtues and vices are established with the development of society; the pride which is introduced through
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