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Jean Jacques Rousseauand Education The Enlightenment Essay

1183 words - 5 pages

In most all of Jean Jacques Rousseau's writings concerning education, he stressed his belief that “negative education,” that is education derived from man's interaction with the natural state, was vital to the moral development of humans, as opposed to “positive education,” which was seen by him as established, traditional education delivered by societies. Rousseau's theoretical beliefs, were contradicted by his own writings and the end result leaves the issue as much unsettled today, as in his time.

Nature is the basic principle upon which Rousseau builds his discussion of social science, moralistic, and political issues. However he does not come to a definitive conclusion, not giving a precise definition, but rather describing the nature of man. Due to his fierce denunciations of the social state, some folks determined that Rousseau was calling for a return to the origins of nature. That is not representative of Rousseau's thought however. The reason is that, in the first place, these very attributes of nature are theoretical claims that attempt to explain the human condition. Because of this the attainment of the result of the claims is not practical, as it would return man to a place he has never actually been. In the second place the continued progression of socialization is required for humans and, lastly, a return to the origins of nature is not only impossible, but not something that would be good for humanity.

Rousseau's idea was to reestablish nature within man, bring back to life that which society has retarded. Thus, because “everything is radically related to politics", that is what we will concentrate here (Conrad 2).

The social contract , is not real, that is it is man made and therefore not natural Rousseau, in his view of civil society, seemingly discards any theory that places the sovereign over the natural, think father over child. As well as the suppositions that a divine authority grants societal relations supernatural qualities. Having said that, being conventional is not against nature because individual rights and the laws of nature are not negated by the social contract. But brought back and restored through reason.  

Following that course of thought, along with "natural right reasoned", a basis of civil society, Rousseau includes "natural right properly so called", which fits with the natural state of things. With using reason, this style of natural right is antecedent, and in the end establishes of pity related to man's quest for survival. Rousseau’s basic axiom dictates: "Do your good with the least possible harm to others." The axiom of natural justice however looses its punch with self-love and passions that accompany societal formation.

There is, then a call to make natural law into civil law to stop injustice, however natural law is not, in and of itself sufficient. In order to achieve this there must be threat of social control and reciprocation. So the basic agreement is to...

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