Rousseau's Doctrine of Natural Rights Comparison Essay by cee-cee

Rousseau's Doctrine of Natural Rights
This paper discusses Jean-Jacques Rousseau's doctrine of natural rights in comparison to liberal, political, social and economic theory.
# 109087 | 2,328 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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In this article, the writer notes that the great philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the foremost proponents of the theory of the social contract and of ideas concerning the basic nature of human society. The writer discusses that according to Rousseau, human beings were born neither good nor evil; rather it was an individual's self-interest that determined his or her actions, actions that might be deemed either positive or negative in the eyes of others. As individuals acted naturally in their own interest, larger societies would be plagued by the conflicts that grew out of the conflicting demands of individual women and men. Rousseau proposed to solve this problem by a variant of the social contract - an ostensible agreement between the various members of society. The writer discusses that the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau contrasted strongly with those of other thinkers, such as John Locke, Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant, all of whom viewed humanity in far-more individualized terms.

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Kant, Immanuel. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. Trans. Thomas K. Abbott. New York: Liberal Arts Press, 1949.
  • Locke, John. A Letter concerning Toleration. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Liberal Arts Press, 1955.
  • Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government. Ed. Thomas P. Peardon. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse on Political Economy and, the Social Contract. Trans. Christopher Betts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Trans. Franklin Philip. Ed. Patrick Coleman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Rousseau's Doctrine of Natural Rights (2008, November 16) Retrieved August 16, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Rousseau's Doctrine of Natural Rights" 16 November 2008. Web. 16 August. 2022. <>