Which Statement Best Characterizes The Ideas Of Jean Jacques Rousseau
The Political Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau decried the idea of a theatre in his hometown when he published his Letter to d’Alembert about the Theater. Later, he returned to his original Calvinist philosophy and published his Discourse On the Origin of Inequality (1754).
Rousseau believed that social development leads to a decline in individual moral character and civic virtue. He wrote an essay in 1750 that won the Academy of Dijon’s first prize in the essay contest. The essay was read widely, but its ideas proved controversial. Rousseau’s ideas were seen as an enemy of progress by many.
Although Rousseau was deeply interested in the state of nature, he also addressed the motivations for states. His philosophy helped explain the reasons for societies and the role of governments. Thomas Hobbes, on the other hand, thought that life in the “state of nature” was solitary and brutish. Therefore, Hobbes favored rulers with absolute power.
Rousseau’s philosophy holds that the people have all power in government. All legislation must be based upon the general will of the people. This view holds that all political decisions are made through majority vote. This view is referred to as the a posteriori philosophical anarchism. This philosophy holds that all actual states do not meet the requirements for legitimacy.
In the end, Rousseau argues that human nature is good. This view, however, is difficult to interpret. Although humans are naturally good, society corrupts their nature. While society is a powerful agent for corruption, it is difficult to define what constitutes society.
The political philosophy of Rousseau was less convincing to later thinkers. He rejected the idea of a representative government and the Hobbesian idea of legislative delegation. He also rejected the notion that individuals have natural rights over land and property. These rights are intended to be checks on the sovereign’s power.
Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality addresses the question of how humans should live. He argues that humans are not bound to any particular way of living. Instead, he argues that human beings have the power to exercise their free will and resist benign impulses.
Rousseau’s practical politics text is more pragmatic. Rousseau rejects representative government completely, but he acknowledges that a representative form can have its benefits. He says that while it can be beneficial in certain circumstances, it is not a good idea over the long-term.
The ideas of Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality and his Discourse on Political Economy are scattered throughout his works. The Social Contract is the most influential. Rousseau’s ideas are amplified or illuminated by the other works.