Rousseau 's Views On Freedom Of The Individual

3158 Words Mar 31st, 2015 13 Pages
Over the course of history this idea of freedom has been developed and defined by many famous political and philosophical thinkers. Many of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideas are acknowledged in the “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” and more notably the “The Social Contract”. John Stuart Mill’s major points originate from a book called “On Liberty”. All of these works are still read today and taught in schools around the world. In particular, their ideas on freedom and liberty have drawn a considerable amount of attention. For instance, Rousseau is well known for his idea of “forcing citizens to be free”, while Mill claims that freedom can be found in “pursing our own good in our own way”. Therefore, it is evident that fundamental differences occur between Rousseau’s and Mill’s ideas on liberty and freedom. Rousseau’s rejects this classical liberal idea of freedom of the individual, and instead argues that the highest quality of freedom is achieved through a social contract where collective decisions represent the law and people have a duty to the state, while Mill sees freedom as not being constrained by the government (freedom from laws) and pursuing one’s own good as long as it does no harm to others.
According to Rousseau man was born “naturally good”. However, when man began to acquire private property it created a society where the naturally good of individuals became corrupted. Modern institutions like private property are the driving force behind an immoral…
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