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Rousseau-Amour de soi vs Amour-propre.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL244H1
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
Feb 6 : Rousseau—Amour de soi vs. Amour-propre (Multiple) self created by society, conflicts between multiple society- produced selfs, conflicts between products of society and our actual self Rousseau: Each has an individualistic part of us, but also as the result of society, we require an artificial self. Natural, individualistic self should be identified rather the social self. Rousseau’s Conception of the Natural Self Definition of Natural Self: Before having to enter into society. - All humans are in society, all human are civilized, in culture—so he thinks that to see the true nature of the soul, all the properties of the soul that it has in virtue of having being civilized Rousseau’s Method “hypothetical history”— “history” in what sense? - Has to present his account in a narrative that starts before the present, and the narrative will carry us to the present. He refers to the state of nature, the state in which men has not yet entered into society. The narrative will describe how men evolve from the past state to the present civilized state. “hypothetical” - not intended to be read as a historical account, or making claims to historical truth, in this sense, it is hypothetical. What is it giving us if it’s not giving us a history account? What claims and on what ground is he making then? He is offering us a thought experiment: what would men be like in theory if he never went into society. The Natural Soul Men at this stage would be solitary, no social ties—no tribes, no family. Amour de soi (self-love) Preserving himself, his own wellbeing Pity Aversion to seeing other beings of the same kind to suffer Free Will Ability to resist impulses Perfectibility Capable of learning, acquiring new habits/skills. Flexible Only 2 passions: desire & The psychology, very few passions. fear - Driven by basic urges, natural men will have a desire for food, sex, drink, sleep; he will fear being hungry, hurt. (what Plato calls appetite—natural men are all based on appetite.) - Rousseau thinks he is all satisfied, his desires are all satisfied. - Humans have no preferences in natural state—they feel lust—they get together and get satisfied In the moment no foresight—does no look into the future, thinks one day at a time, no memory. Consciousness is in the moment “Dull and stupid” no language, no reason. They are not needed. In the state of nature, men’s desire are satisfied, he does not have to reason for this purpose. Even if the knowledge he acquires is of no use, he does not communicate with others . What the use of language if you are not in contact with people, no need to communicate? - No tools, no clothes, no shelters. Everything they have is within them. They are free from disease (most diseases only come about when society starts.) Natural men would be largely healthy; death to natural men would be peaceful. Everything he needs is readily available, so why work? - Natural men are neither good or bad, he is just amoral. He is also completely free (not in the sense that he has will), there’s no slavery, no pressure—total freedom in the political moral sense as well. “that man in a state of nature, wandering up and down the forests, without industry, without speech, and without home, an equal stranger to war and to all ties, neither standing in need of his fellow-creatures nor having any desire to hurt them, and perhaps even not distinguishing them one from another; let us conclude that, being self-sufficient and subject to so few passions, he could have no feelings or knowledge but such as befitted his situation; that he felt only his actual necessities, and disregarded everything he did not think himself immediately concerned to notice, and that his understanding made no greater progress than his vanity. If by accident he made any discovery, he was the less able to communicate it to others, as he did not know even his own children. Every art would necessarily perish with its inventor, where there was no kind of education among men, and generations succeeded generations without the least advance; when, all setting out from the same point, centuries must have elapsed in the barbarism of the first ages; when the race was already old, and man remained a child.” - You subtract away all the capability in virtue of entering into society, this is what the men would be like Question: Is natural man, as Rousseau describes him, theoretically possible? Stages of Man’s decline 1. “First Revolution” o Men is free, perfectible. He can choose to resist his own impulses. He has the potential to change. Combine with foreign contingences; by accidents then changes start to occur. - Population growth. Resources will dwindle; some men have to move to other areas, colder climate. They have to be more resourceful— invent basic tools. Cold climate wear clothes, build houses for shelter. Emergence of very basic form of properties: tools, clothing, house that we don’t see in the state of nature. - Slight acquire of knowledge, men has to use reason to satisfy his desire. Because resource is scarcer, men also have to enter cooperative agreements with other men. No sense of duty to uphold the agreement—no morality. - But this will lead to longer arrangement like families. Also will lead to the development of language to communicate. With family, interaction with other beings, emergence of comparative concepts likes duty and marriage. - The birth of a new kind of desire—the desire to be seen be others as beautiful, worthy. Rousseau thinks it’s important for the progress of men in the acquisition of these concepts. The range of passion men feel will expand. He has basic evaluative judgments like beauty and worthiness, desire of respected and be thought of beautiful by other people. If these aren’t satisfied, he will feel shame/anger (when denied), contempt, envy. - These passions motivate men to be less nice, want to get revenge on others. The natural
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