Rousseau And The Artists Of Th

1429 words - 6 pages

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (1712-1778) was a French social philosopher and writer. His book Du Contrat Social, ou Principes du droit politique (Social Contract) published in 1762, emphasised the rights of the people over the government and was a significant influence on the French Revolution . Rousseau believed that people were not social beings by nature. He stated that ?Society corrupts individuals by bringing out their inclination toward aggression and selfishness? . Fundamental to Rousseau?s beliefs for the utopia of society was for each individual to believe in the same collective way to govern society. He believed that individuals should give up their rights of personal selflessness for the good of society as a whole. His answer therefore was to find a ?form of association which defends and protects with all common forces the person and goods of each associate, and by means of which each one, whilst uniting with all, nevertheless obeys only himself and remains as free as before . . . .? . When structuring his utopia of the ?General Will? Rousseau believed that ?although the natural man perceived himself as an individual, he must learn to think collectively in order to create a society ?. Therefore to evolve into a humane and agreeable society people should give up their natural rights of appetite and conform to society by consenting to the process of law which has made them free - collectively consenting to the ?general will? - a single correct path for people to follow or the policy which is equal in everyone?s interests.Rousseau believed that it was wrong for the sovereign power over society to be held by just one man - the King. He believed that the people as a whole should be sovereign (the term Rousseau uses for the body of citizens acting collectively, with authority over themselves) . In the ?Social Contract? he argues that government is justified only if sovereignty stays with the people. Therefore whilst the sovereignty could be delegated in various ways it could not be transferred and ?resides ultimately with society as a whole, with the people, who can withdraw it when necessary ? In order for the objectives of the ?general will? to be fulfilled it must be accepted by one and all through educating society to overcome their appetite to vote in accordance of their own personal interests, or particular will. ?People need to be brought up the right way so that they learn to ?cherish one another as brothers?. This cements the social bond and widens each person?s view so they take an interest in the state as a whole, and hence will naturally seek to advance the general will? . People therefore had to vote in a way that was, in their view the morally correct outcome, for the common good, that is, for Rousseau ?a matter of voting in accordance with the idea of the general will ?.So what was the ideal state that was so important to Rousseau. He knew that by writing the ?Social Contract? that he would offend both the French and Genevan...

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