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March 15 Lecture - Rousseau

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Political Science
Stefan Dolgert

POLB71 March 15, 2011 Jean-Jacques Rousseau How you feel about the police is directly related to how you feel about property Rousseau Whats the property system youre 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 its 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. LockeHobbes) 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 cant assume that what we see around us in society is what we are naturally (instead, theyre 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 seethe same thing dont 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, doesnt complain because is used to it (like animals, puts up with situation), and healthy (the weak die young) - No complicated rational thoughts, doesnt fear death but fears being harmed (pain)
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