Focused on use of reason to evaluate and decide whether institutions enhance human"s ability. Humans become adults ; i. e. responsible for their actions and institutions: subjects to citizens. Rousseau: the social contract vs. arbitrary power (unrestrained power: social contract- free individuals come together and sign a contract; contractually bound and it is negotiable depending on reason. Impossible that all individuals can have input in structure of political government. Rousseau: perfectibility of humans but constrained by social institutions. Child of the enlightenment : unnececssary hierarchy, slavery, power struggle. Man is born free but is everywhere in chains : the dialectical method/perspective- good and bad at the same time. Non-dialectical: everything either positive or negative: two opposite dichotomies. Positivists vs. the romantic- conservatives on the french revolution. Everything is in a constant state of movement, becoming, ceaseless contradictions, practice: we are always trying to become what we think we can be. Hard to pin down either/ or at any particular moment.