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Comparison Of Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

1269 words - 5 pages

Human nature and its relevance in determining behaviors, predictions, and conclusions has caused dispute among philosophers throughout the ages. Political philosophy with its emphasis on government legitimacy, justice, laws, and rights guided the works of the 17th and 18th century philosophical writings of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Through Thomas Hobbes world-renowned publication Leviathan and Rousseau’s discourses on basic political principals and concepts, each man validated their thoughts on human nature and what is required for a successful society within their respective government confines. The distinct differences between Hobbes and Rousseau’s opinions on the natural state of man frame the argument of the different parenting styles the each man would inevitably apply towards raising a child. Raising a child is a timeless analogy that can be used to contrast the education and discipline that one would apply in the endless situations life provides.
The opposing ideologies of human nature by Hobbes and Rousseau would reflect in their parenting styles. Both men agree that nature is directly relevant to man and that perhaps humans are closes to their natural state at infancy. Nature (the Art whereby God hath made and governes the World) is by the Art of man. (Hobbes 81) Their differences become clear when discussing mans relationship to society.
Hobbes argues that man is born a natural savage who is unruly and undisciplined. Society saves the human soul by forcing it into a civilized society that requires proper behavior for survival. This viewpoint is relatable to parenting on the basis of children at birth are uncivilized beings with no sense of right or wrong. These characteristics are only instilled in them throughout their childhood while being raised to become acceptable members of society.
The nature of man is a coherent argument that’s not limited to the two separate distinctions of Hobbes and Rousseau. Centuries of philosophers have attempted to apply reason to why mankind has certain tendencies. Hobbes when discussing human nature often uses beast-like tendencies as a comparison. “The imagination that is raysed in man (or any other creature indued with the faculty of imagining) by words, or other voluntary signes, is that we generally call Understanding; and is common to Man and Beast.” (Hobbes 93) Relating man to beast exemplifies Hobbes position on what he believes is human nature. Furthering his argument that civilization rescues humanity from an otherwise barbaric state. Hobbes view on government stems from these beliefs as well. As explained in Leviathan, government’s ultimate purpose is to control by imposing law and order in order to protect human nature from taking over. In respect to parenting, proper and necessary discipline is required in order to establish order within the household. Hobbes view of man as naturally selfish and constantly occupied with thoughts of how something may benefit them...

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