Philosophy on the Social Contract Analytical Essay by scribbler

Philosophy on the Social Contract
A review of the philosophies of Rousseau, Marx, Hobbes and Locke on the "social contract".
# 153017 | 2,725 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on May 01, 2013 in Political Science (Political Theory) , Political Science (John Locke)

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The paper explores Rousseau's philosophy in "The Social Contract" and discusses his belief that private property was destructive and that it rewarded greed, wealth, and, to a certain extent, providence. The paper looks at the beliefs of Marx on property rights and shows how both Marx and Rousseau believed that rights - particularly pertaining to property - produced isolated and self-centered people who were dependent on one another, and were intensely unequal. The paper also notes that while they shared these same ideas about property and labor, Rousseau saw the problem being more political while Marx saw the problem as having more to do with economics. The paper then examines the theories of Locke and Hobbes on the "social contract" and looks at how they differed from Rousseau and also highlights similarities between Locke, Rousseau and Marx. Finally, the paper looks at the beliefs of Thomas Moore, a modern day philosopher, who has a desire to teach people how to live a soulful life.

From the Paper:

bourgeois"The whole idea of a "social contract" centers on the implication that people give up their power to a government or another type of controlling power in order for social order to be upheld. In "The Social Contract", Rousseau purports that by living in a civilized society, individuals willingly, but usually without expressing it, give their consent to follow the rules of the social contract. He thought that the rights of people must be limited in order to assure that society remain orderly and civilized.
"Rousseau was a "naturalist" - that is, he believed that it was only when human society began to develop, when people began to form their social institutions, that they developed immoral habits. One of these institutions, and perhaps the worst for Rousseau, was private property. He thought it encouraged materialism and self-interest. This was not normal for man, according to Rousseau, because humans, in general, he believed, did not want to see other humans suffer or have less than they themselves have. He thought that without property, people were on equal ground because they were simply left with their human qualities (which included compassion, a trait he said all humans had). Rousseau once asked, "what can be the chains of dependence among men who possess nothing?" (Rousseau 412)"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Levine, Andrew. The General Will: Rousseau, Marx, Communism. Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Marx, Karl. "The Communist Manifesto." The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert Tucker. New York: W.W. Norton Company, 1978.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. London: Penguin Books, 1968.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. "Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality among Men," in Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli to Nietsche, ed. David Woootton (Indianapolis, IN. Hackett Pub., 1996).

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