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Rousseau's State Of Nature Essay

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Locke's state of nature consists of a state of perfect equality where no individual holds power over another and has the freedom to act as they please. This is significant because it portrays how human beings would behave in nature before the emergence of civil society. While he does agree that human nature is free, we are still bound by something in the state of nature. He states, "But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license (6)." This means that while humans do not have the right to destroy other individuals, they also do not have the right to destroy themselves either. Locke provides a detailed justification for this.
The state of nature is governed by a law, which creates obligations for all existing human beings.
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He finds it necessary to consider how an individual would behave in their natural state. In order to do so, he takes his readers back to the beginning of human nature, and creates an imagery of the most basic human. He uses a philosophical approach, where he takes everything away from people that is attributed to a civilized society, such as ideas, technology, customs, culture and language, etc. Rousseau believes after this, one can now reach a full understanding of a human being in their natural state. Once this occurs, Rousseau discovers that we end up with a peculiar animal that has no real thought, feelings, and is adaptable to different situations. He then discusses the similarities the most basic human being shares in common with other animals: self-preservation and compassion. Self-preservation refers to the natural means to live. The basic human being only needs enough to preserve themselves, no more and no less. Compassion refers to the natural adoration humans feel towards other people. In other words, we do not wish to see other human beings suffer. This does not mean we are not willing to protect ourselves. In the case another individual threatens our life, we are strongly willing to kill. However, this is an act that is only done when necessary, as humans do not have a natural tendency towards
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