POLB71 – March 15, 2011
How you feel about the police is directly related to how you feel about property
Rousseau What’s the property system you’re buying into?
-What system would we expect if we “get what we pay for”? – when wealth is
concentrated in such a tiny group of people
Rousseau Inequality is NOT just!
What is a human being? We need to understand what humans are to understand inequality
and if it’s justified
1. Nature vs. Artifice
-Nature: What we are by nature
-Artifice: What we are in civilization
Crucial places where earlier political philosophers have gone wrong because they talk about
the state of nature but they have not actually looked at what humans are by nature only
took civilized humans and stuck them in a forest (e.g. Locke/Hobbes)
Rousseau What Hobbes did was take a look at people around him in society who are
quarrelsome, argumentative, and put them both in state of nature
-We can’t assume that what we see around us in society is what we are naturally
(instead, they’re products of civilization!)
-WE need to get back to nature!
2. Self-Preservation and Pity (Sympathy)
-In State of Nature, there are two natural drives: self preservation (we share this
with animals) and sympathy (the tears we shed, the feelings, are part of our nature
because when we look at animals, we see the same thing – don’t like to cause pain)
Big difference between Rousseau and Hobbes Hobbes focuses on aggressive side of
humans and ignores pity which is a gigantic part of who we are!
3. Natural Man = Savage
(Savage is complimentary – the “noble” savage – some people are still quite close to the
natural man, e.g. the Caribs, “Arawak” people)
Natural Man: Person on their own – above society, naked, no language (grunts), strong
because must do everything for himself (self-reliant), hardly used to privation, doesn’t
complain because is used to it (like animals, puts up with situation), and healthy (the weak
-No complicated rational thoughts, doesn’t fear death but fears being harmed (pain)