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POLC71H3 (52)
Lecture

Rousseau (Property and Human Nature)

8 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLC71H3
Professor
Stefan Dolgert

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POL B71
Week 10/Lecture 9
1
PROPERTY
The feelings that you have about property directly relates to how u feel about
property
Harrington says that if your country contains the very rich and the very poor
(inequality) than you are headed toward an oligarchical system of rule
Locke says that inequality is not necessarily a bad thing
Rousseau says that if you get what you pay for, than what are we paying for exactly?
What is the property system we are paying into? What political system would we get
if wealth and power are invested in such a small group of people? Rousseau says that
it is not just and not good for anyone. We do not tacitly consent to anything.
Rousseau
In his Discourse of Inequality, Rousseau sets up the problem of human nature --- he
discusses the political problems.
His essay is a response to the questions: what are the origins of inequality and is it
justified?
We have to understand what a human is to understand what inequality is and if it is
justified
NATURE AND ARTIFICE
This is a distinction of what humans are naturally, by the hands of our creator, and
what we are in civilization
He says that this is one of the crucial places that other philosophers have gone wrong
(Hobbes and Locke) --- it is right to theorize on human nature, but the past
philosophers did not sufficiently do this --- rather, what they did was take civilized
humans and put them in the forest
He says that Hobbes talks a lot about humans are competitive and aggressive.
Rouseau says that Hobbes looked at people around him in civilization who are
prideful and war-like, and put them back in the state of nature. We cannot just
assume that the dispositions that we see (the competitiveness and aggressiveness)
are part of our natural state. The dispositions of pride and aggression are
PRODUCTS of civilization
www.notesolution.com
POL B71
Week 10/Lecture 9
2
Therefore, we must go back to find out what is actually in the state of nature and not
contribute characteristics of civilization to our natural state
SELF-PRESERVATION AND PITY
We have 2 drives…a drive for self-preservation and pity (self-pity)
This is what we share with other animals
Like other animals we naturally feel pity and sympathy --- this is not artifice, it is
something that we naturally have --- for example, other animals (not in civilization)
also do not enjoy seeing pain inflicted on their own kind
This is the biggest difference between Rousseau and Hobbes. Hobbes does not see
that people have pity in their natural state
It is actually pity and sympathy that holds us together
NATURAL MAN
Qualities of the natural man or the savage
oRousseau uses savage as a complementary term --- man is the noble savage
oIn 1754, Rousseau says that there are some people that still exemplify
characteristics of the natural man
oIt is a man that is on his own
oNo ties to civilization
oThey do not possess language (he has a section concerning on how language
comes to be. Ultimately he does not know) how does language occur? You need
people who speak the language but in the state of nature, Rousseau says that
there is no language. This is why language is a problem for Rousseau
oNatural man is strong because he has to do everything for himself. He is self-
reliant
oNatural man becomes used to his condition just like animals. They put up
with the situation that they are in
www.notesolution.com
POL B71
Week 10/Lecture 9
3
oNatural men are also healthy. If they are not healthy, they will die. Therefore,
the weak die young. The stronger men live to be much older
oThey dont have complicated rational thought because that would require
language
oThey do not fear death, but they fear being harmed (just like other animals).
Natural man is afraid of pain
oThey are like animals, except they have this capacity to make choices
oThey have a little bit of independence
oThey are thinking about what is in front of them and not about things in the
long-term
oThey are concerned with eating, resting, and reproducing.
oAs a natural man, we have simple needs and we are able to take care of those
needs
oThere is no gap between their needs and the ability to satisfy those needs
oIn many ways, human beings are like grown children, but it is ok because
there is no concept of good and evil people
oThere is no need to compete with each other because nature provides for us
oBoth Locke and Hobbes talk about punishment in the state of nature. Locke
says that you have the right to punish those who hurt you. However,
Rousseau says that punishment makes no sense in the state of nature. When
something is taken from animals or harm is brought upon animals from
another animal, they do not think about punishing. They just think about
getting back the stolen good.
Rousseau says that by theorizing about punishment is like taking the
idea of punishing from a civilized society and placing it in the state of
nature
THE CHANGE
We did not want to leave the state of nature
However, random events that could not have been predicted changes our state of
nature
www.notesolution.com

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Description
POL B71 Week 10Lecture 9 1 PROPERTY The feelings that you have about property directly relates to how u feel about property Harrington says that if your country contains the very rich and the very poor (inequality) than you are headed toward an oligarchical system of rule Locke says that inequality is not necessarily a bad thing Rousseau says that if you get what you pay for, than what are we paying for exactly? What is the property system we are paying into? What political system would we get if wealth and power are invested in such a small group of people? Rousseau says that it is not just and not good for anyone. We do not tacitly consent to anything. Rousseau In his Discourse of Inequality, Rousseau sets up the problem of human nature --- he discusses the political problems. His essay is a response to the questions: what are the origins of inequality and is it justified? We have to understand what a human is to understand what inequality is and if it is justified NATURE AND ARTIFICE This is a distinction of what humans are naturally, by the hands of our creator, and what we are in civilization He says that this is one of the crucial places that other philosophers have gone wrong (Hobbes and Locke) --- it is right to theorize on human nature, but the past philosophers did not sufficiently do this --- rather, what they did was take civilized humans and put them in the forest He says that Hobbes talks a lot about humans are competitive and aggressive. Rouseau says that Hobbes looked at people around him in civilization who are prideful and war-like, and put them back in the state of nature. We cannot just assume that the dispositions that we see (the competitiveness and aggressiveness) are part of our natural state. The dispositions of pride and aggression are PRODUCTS of civilization www.notesolution.com
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