On the Social Contract At the outset, Rousseau notes that since perfect freedom is the natural condition of human beings, it is the existence of social restrictions that requires explanation. Only the family is truly a natural association, and its features are commonly extended far beyond the basic needs from which it arises. Military conquest and slavery in its usual forms cannot establish any genuine right for one person to rule over another.
References and Further Reading 1. Socrates' Argument In the early Platonic dialogue, Crito, Socrates makes a compelling argument as to why he must stay in prison and accept the death penalty, rather than escape and go into exile in another Greek city.
He personifies the Laws of Athens, and, speaking in their voice, explains that he has acquired an overwhelming obligation to obey the Laws because they have made his entire way of life, and even the fact of his very existence, possible.
They made it possible for his mother and father to marry, and therefore to have legitimate children, including himself.
Having been born, the city of Athens, through its laws, then required that his father care for and educate him. Socrates' life and the way in which that life has flourished in Athens are each dependent upon the Laws. Importantly, however, this relationship between citizens and the Laws of the city are not Jean jacques rousseau the origin of civil society.
Citizens, once they have grown up, and have seen how the city conducts itself, can choose whether to leave, taking their property with them, or stay.
Staying implies an agreement to abide by the Laws and accept the punishments that they mete out. And, having made an agreement that is itself just, Socrates asserts that he must keep to this agreement that he has made and obey the Laws, in this case, by staying and accepting the death penalty.
Importantly, the contract described by Socrates is an implicit one: In Plato's most well-known dialogue, Republic, social contract theory is represented again, although this time less favorably. In Book II, Glaucon offers a candidate for an answer to the question "what is justice?
What men would most want is to be able to commit injustices against others without the fear of reprisal, and what they most want to avoid is being treated unjustly by others without being able to do injustice in return.
Justice then, he says, is the conventional result of the laws and covenants that men make in order to avoid these extremes. Being unable to commit injustice with impunity as those who wear the ring of Gyges wouldand fearing becoming victims themselves, men decide that it is in their interests to submit themselves to the convention of justice.
Socrates rejects this view, and most of the rest of the dialogue centers on showing that justice is worth having for its own sake, and that the just man is the happy man. These views, in the Crito and the Republic, might seem at first glance inconsistent: These two views are, however, reconcilable.
From Socrates' point of view, a just man is one who will, among other things, recognize his obligation to the state by obeying its laws.
The state is the morally and politically most fundamental entity, and as such deserves our highest allegiance and deepest respect. Just men know this and act accordingly. Justice, however, is more than simply obeying laws in exchange for others obeying them as well.
Justice is the state of a well-regulated soul, and so the just man will also necessarily be the happy man. So, justice is more than the simple reciprocal obedience to law, as Glaucon suggests, but it does nonetheless include obedience to the state and the laws that sustain it.
So in the end, although Plato is perhaps the first philosopher to offer a representation of the argument at the heart of social contract theory, Socrates ultimately rejects the idea that social contract is the original source of justice. Modern Social Contract Theory a.
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes, lived during the most crucial period of early modern England's history: To describe this conflict in the most general of terms, it was a clash between the King and his supporters, the Monarchists, who preferred the traditional authority of a monarch, and the Parliamentarians, most notably led by Oliver Cromwell, who demanded more power for the quasi-democratic institution of Parliament.
Hobbes represents a compromise between these two factions. On the one hand he rejects the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, which is most eloquently expressed by Robert Filmer in his Patriarcha or the Natural Power of Kings, although it would be left to John Locke to refute Filmer directly.
According to this view, then, political obligation is subsumed under religious obligation. On the other hand, Hobbes also rejects the early democratic view, taken up by the Parliamentarians, that power ought to be shared between Parliament and the King.
In rejecting both these views, Hobbes occupies the ground of one who is both radical and conservative. He argues, radically for his times, that political authority and obligation are based on the individual self-interests of members of society who are understood to be equal to one another, with no single individual invested with any essential authority to rule over the rest, while at the same time maintaining the conservative position that the monarch, which he called the Sovereign, must be ceded absolute authority if society is to survive.
Hobbes' political theory is best understood if taken in two parts: Hobbes has, first and foremost, a particular theory of human nature, which gives rise to a particular view of morality and politics, as developed in his philosophical masterpiece, Leviathan, published in The Scientific Revolution, with its important new discoveries that the universe could be both described and predicted in accordance with universal laws of nature, greatly influenced Hobbes.
He sought to provide a theory of human nature that would parallel the discoveries being made in the sciences of the inanimate universe. His psychological theory is therefore informed by mechanism, the general view that everything in the universe is produced by nothing other than matter in motion.
According to Hobbes, this extends to human behavior. Human macro-behavior can be aptly described as the effect of certain kinds of micro-behavior, even though some of this latter behavior is invisible to us. So, such behaviors as walking, talking, and the like are themselves produced by other actions inside of us.Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva on 28 June His mother died when he was young, and Rousseau was initially brought up by his father, a watchmaker.
The Major Political Writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Two Discourses and the Social Contract [Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John T.
Scott] on webkandii.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Individualist and communitarian. Anarchist and totalitarian. Classicist and romanticist. Progressive and reactionary. Since the eighteenth century. The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is presented in two volumes, which together form the most comprehensive anthology of Rousseau's political writings in English.
Society In his essay "The Origin of Civil Society," Jean Rousseau makes numerous points regarding the benefits of a civil state rather than a state of nature. Rousseau states that humans living in a state of nature are only a short term solution for society.
To complete this task, Rousseau must examine how man transitioned from the state of nature to civil society. Rousseau clearly outlines his views on the state of nature in his earlier work, Discourse on the origin of Inequality. Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( - ) was a French philosopher and writer of the Age of Enlightenment..
His Political Philosophy, particularly his formulation of social contract theory (or Contractarianism), strongly influenced the French Revolution and the development of Liberal, Conservative and Socialist theory.
A brilliant, undisciplined and unconventional thinker throughout his .