Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau Essay

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Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have very different views on the social contract largely based on their fundamental views of the state of nature in humanity. These basic views of natural human nature cause Hobbes and Rousseau to have views on opposite sides of the spectrum, based on two controversial speculations, that human is inherently good or that human is inherently inclined towards egotism and perpetual insecurity. Due to his belief that they are of this nature, Hobbes viewed an all-powerful sovereign of a rather totalarianistic nature to be necessary. Rousseau on the other hand, viewed that the sovereign should represent the common will of the people, the sovereign being agreed upon by all constituents. It is my assertion…show more content…
He refutes Hobbes’ idea that man is naturally seeking to attack and fight by saying that man in the state of nature is actually man in his most timid form. He states that savage man’s needs are so basic (food, shelter, water, a woman) and easily found that he can have “neither foresight or curiosity”. By this man he means that man lacks the expansive nature that Hobbes’ believed they possessed (natural eternal quest for power). He continues on man’s basic nature adding “With passions so minimally active and such a salutary restraint, being more wild than evil, and more attentive to protecting themselves from the harm they could receive than tempted to do harm to others, men were not subject to very dangerous conflicts.” This is rather opposite of the state of nature in which Hobbes calls man in a constant war with man. He argues, that without society, in fact, that man would be much more pure and that the ills of society have dirtied man. He believed that human nature is very comparable to that of an animal in that it is at its based even natured, but that the separating factor between the two is free will. He argues that since society calls for more cooperation between men, it also causes more competition, creating many of society ills. Rather than saying man fled from the state of nature like Hobbes, Rousseau rather said that man needed society for division of labor as well as the division
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