An analysis of rousseaus concept of the general will

He states that the civil society does nothing to enforce the equality and individual liberty that were promised to man when he entered into that society. For Rousseau, the only legitimate political authority is the authority consented to by all the people, who have agreed to such government by entering into a social contract for the sake of their mutual preservation. Rousseau describes the ideal form of this social contract and also explains its philosophical underpinnings. To Rousseau, the collective grouping of all people who by their consent enter into a civil society is called the sovereign, and this sovereign may be thought of, metaphorically at least, as an individual person with a unified will.

An analysis of rousseaus concept of the general will

Younkins The belief that man, by nature, is good was espoused by the French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau He believed that people in the state of nature were innocent and at their best and that they were corrupted by the unnaturalness of civilization.

In the state of nature, people lived entirely for themselves, possessed an absolute independence, and were content. According to Rousseau, in the state of nature, people tended to be isolated, war was absent, and their desires were minimal and circumscribed i.

People did not have the drive to acquire more possessions. There was plenty to go around, an absence of reliance on others, and no real need for extensive social interaction. However, there did exist an unreflective sympathy and general compassion toward others that was indiscriminate and not based on merits.

In the state of nature egoism was absent and compassion was present. Rousseau saw compassion for the undeserving in particular and for mankind in general to be the greatest of the virtues. He regarded contempt of another, which could lead to hurt feelings, as a vice and as always bad.

He felt that a proper society had no place for blame, criticism, judgment, comparison with others, and the distinction of worth among men.

The Social Contract

He said it was wrong to recognize distinctions because this makes people unequal. It was worse to be affronted than to be injured. Rousseau proclaimed the natural goodness of man and believed that one man by nature is just as good as any other.

For Rousseau, a man could be just without virtue and good without effort. According to Rousseau, man in the state of nature was free, wise, and good and the laws of nature were benevolent.

It follows that it was civilization that enslaved and corrupted man and made him unnatural. Because in the order of nature all men were equal, it also follows that distinction and differentiation among men are the products of culture and civilization.

An analysis of rousseaus concept of the general will

Because man is by nature a saint, it must be the corrupting influence of society that is responsible for the misconduct of the individual.

The Origin of Inequality The fundamental problem for Rousseau is not nature or man but instead is social institutions. Arguing that men are not inherently constrained by human nature, Rousseau claims that men are limited and corrupted by social arrangements.

Conceiving of freedom as an absolute, independent of any natural limitations, Rousseau disavows the world of nature and its inherent laws, constraints, and regulations. Rousseau held that reason had its opportunity but had failed, claiming that the act of reflection is contrary to nature.

He proceeded to attack the Age of Reason by emphasizing feeling, the opposite of reason, as the key to reality and the future. His thought thereby foreshadowed and gave impetus to the Romantic Movement. Rousseau assigned primacy to instinct, emotion, intuition, feelings, and passion.

He believed that these could provide better insights into what is good and real than could reason. Rousseau thus minimized reason and differences in the moral worth of individuals.

He failed to realize that freedom is meaningless in the absence of reason. He did not grasp that reason connects the moral subject to the world of values.

Rousseau observed that although life was peaceful in the state of nature, people were unfulfilled. They needed to interact in order to find actualization. Evil, greed, and selfishness emerged as human society began to develop.

As people formed social institutions, they developed vices. One such institution was private property that encouraged avarice and self-interest. Rousseau viewed private property as a destructive, impulsive, and egotistical institution that rewarded greed and luck.

Civil society thus was born when people began fencing off their property, claiming that it was theirs, and finding that other people agreed with them. For Rousseau, civil society resulted from the degeneration of a basically good state of nature.

Rousseau's concept of the "general will" asserts that authentic, long-term needs of the people can be correctly interpreted by a farseeing minority _________'s Persian Letters satirized French society. In Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of a social contract, a. an entire society agrees to be governed by its general will. b. punishments are not exercises in brutality, and capital punishment is discarded. c. the government should not interfere in economic matters. d. women should . Rousseau suggests that this is possible due to what he called the "general will". People are capable of considering matters from various perspectives. Our usual perspective is that of self-interest ("me"), and this gives rise to our private will.

He believed that the state of nature changed because it was internally unstable.Published: Mon, 5 Dec The general definition of education is the transmission and learning of cultural technique by a group of individuals that is able to satisfy its general needs, to protect each other against the hostility of physical and biological environment, and to work and live together peacefully.

Rousseau's concept of the "general will" asserts that authentic, long-term needs of the people can be correctly interpreted by a farseeing minority _________'s Persian Letters satirized French society.

For Rousseau, general will arose from inner conscience and passion and was politically expressed.

An analysis of rousseaus concept of the general will

Debate was not needed to uncover the general consensus of will. Rather the general will was the upwelling of individuals' consciences and senses of inner commitment, or passions.

1. (i) The concept of General Will is the crux of Rousseau's philosophy. (ii) It conciliates liberty and authority.

(iii) It is a refutation of theory of natural rights. (iv) It is a plea for popular sovereignty. (v) Commonwealth is an "association" and a corporate person­ality, not an "aggregation".

(vi) General Will is the will of the Commonwealth. Rousseau’s concept of a "lawgiver" who can guide the general will is a self-contradictory concept that assumes that this individual would be given a semi-divine status in society.

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Such an individual would also have an absolute power to define the limits of civil authority. Abstract The major objective of this paper is to holistically examine Jean Jacques Rousseau’s concept of General will.

The thesis of the paper posits that the natural needs of man cannot be satisfied by society, but rather society increases misery.

Philosophy, et cetera: Rousseau and the "General Will"