Presentation on theme: "Rousseau Origin of Inequality The Social Contract."— Presentation transcript:
Rousseau Origin of Inequality The Social Contract
Historical Background Eve of the French Revolution (The Social Contract published in 1863) – enormous influence there Tract in political and moral philosophy – no scientific ambitions Price of civilization?
Main problem How should the political community be organized? Can citizens retain any rights/liberties? How can the current deficient state of society be corrected?
Solution Social contract Each individual gives himself up completely to the body politics (sovereign) In giving ourselves up we remain free Our conduct is governed by the general will – aimed at the common good; general in its object and its essence Civil religion mandatory for all Education
Reasons Evolution of the state of nature: from abundance, isolation, and general life satisfaction to division of labor, property rights, inequality, language, moral rules and a social order protecting the rich and powerful It is the current political/social condition that needs to be overcome, not the state of nature Human nature: a degree of selfishness; aversion to harming others; generally good human nature twisted by civilization; natural inequality
Assumptions/values Ideal of rational autonomy New understanding of liberty (civil + moral) Natural inequality can give way to civil equality
Implications Inequality? Minority rights? Limitations on the power of the government?
Potential problems Liberty, equality, fraternity? Community bonds too tight? Not enough room for individual/group pursuits and self-expression? Comparison to Hobbes and Locke?