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Philosophy 4-9.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1070
Professor
Robert Mc Gill
Semester
Spring

Description
Philosophy 04/09/2014 Rousseau on Inequality Jean­Jacques Rousseau (1712­1778) Born in Geneva (Protestant Republic) Converted to Catholicism in Sardinia Lost citizenship in Geneva Eventually moved to France After writing tDiscourse on Inequality , moved back to Geneva Converted to Protestantism, regained citizenship After publishing tSocial Contract , fled both Geneva and France Like Hobbes and Locke, Rousseau is a Social Contract Theorist But, he objects to Hobbes/Locke as being Anachronistic Hobbes’ and Locke’s strategy: What are people like in the state of nature? Observe the traits people display in political society Speculate about how these traits would manifest themselves in the absence of political society Rousseau Objects Many of the traits people display in society may be the result of living together with others These would not show up in a pre­social existence Rousseau’s State of Nature Life prior to the existence of any human society What is human like in a pre­social form of existence? What sort of lives did human beings have before they lived and interacted with one another? Rousseau’s Assumption There was a time when humans did not live in groups Rousseau’s Questions: 1. What were humans like when we live as solitary animals? 2. What explains our developments from solitary to social beings? 3. What does this explanation tell us about social inequality? Rousseau’s Strategy Determine which traits arise from living/interacting with others Subtract those traits Imagine what human life would have been like without them Pre­Social Human – The NOBLE Savage Solitary individual, independent, self­sufficient No language Capable of very little forethought Conscious, but not self­conscious Move to action by simple desires associated with basic needs Food, shelter, warmth, sleep, sexual gratification, safety Motives and Desires of the Noble Savage Simple, generic desires dictated by two passions Self­love Not reflective; consists in simple desires for well­being Pity Sense of identification with others per
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