Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay by rbrtjoiner

Jean Jacques Rousseau
This paper discusses the paradoxes and contradictions in four of Rousseau's writings on the state of nature and natural man.
# 63218 | 1,825 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2004 | GB

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This paper explains that, in the "Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences", Rousseau introduces natural man as happy and unaffected by the cruelty of modem man; and, in the "Discourse on Inequality", he recounts the hypothetical transformation of natural man to civil man in terms of man's lessening dependence on nature as a critique of modem social inequalities. The author points out that, in the "Social Contract", Rousseau contradicts his earlier work by referring to the state of nature as brutish and arguing that the transformation from natural to civil man is a necessary progression; and, in "Emile", he advocates a return to the spontaneity of nature in education so that the pupil can become a natural man in society. The paper concludes that an inspection of Rousseau's work and at a selection of the critiques of his writings have fail to clarify not only Rousseau's position in relation to the state of nature and the natural man but also the result of man's transformation in terms of reality versus ideals.

From the Paper:

"In the "Social Contract" (1762), Rousseau describes the relationship of man to society; he 'assumed the role of constructive philosopher and presented a theory of the state.' Here he contradicts his earlier work by claiming that the state of nature is, in fact, brutish and without law or morality. Natural man is prone to be in competition with his fellow men and in order to thrive, he must join together with other men; men who have joined together have formed society. The social contract is the agreement among men that sets the conditions for membership in society. According to Rousseau, the transition from the state of nature to civil society is a necessary step forward in the history of mankind."

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