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First and Second Discourse Complete Notes

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Political Science
POLI 1041
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First and Second Discourse Jean-Jacques Rousseau • First major critique of modern society o Platonic  Return to the idea of happiness and where our souls have gone • Rousseau = philosopher of poetry/music o Poet = outsider of society and can speak better about society o Ideal man is NOT a philosopher o Ideal situation of being = feeling at one with nature • Has a state of nature  not as influenced by civilization o More animalistic (Hobbes and Locke take civil man and just unclothes him)  Natural man is more of a beast • Second Discourse = response to a public question in Geneva (Switzerland) • In order to understand ills that afflict modern life, we have to go back to what went wrong o Locke focuses government of property and selfishness o Rousseau realizes there should be a more human aspect to government  happiness and virtue • Getting and securing of stuff won’t make life better o Go back to natural state of virtue • Main problem = inequality rising o Bad for Rousseau o Good for Locke because it promotes civil society • Rousseau claims it was better in state of nature and everyone was happier o We civilized people are unrecognizable from natural human nature  Source of our inequality = changes that happened to men • Rousseau’s natural man differs from Locke and Hobbes’ o Feels compassion and desires self-presentation o Differs from L and H’s understanding because according to them, man only desires to acquire  Rousseau’s person doesn’t have and conception of acquiring of power (animalistic) o Repugnance at seeing another being harmed • Natural man was simply an animal o Didn’t reason  don’t participate in natural law • 2 sorts of inequality = natural and political • Most advantageous animals are humans o Simple beings  eat, drink, sex  Humans can perfect themselves, though • Can take on nature and can better themselves through different ways o Man has dreams and ideals and can set goals for themselves  Man was born free but everywhere he is in chains • As humans move from natural to Civil State they become weak and feeble • Don’t
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