ROUSSEAU'S theory is better than Locke and Hobbes

Essay by lcpvideomakerCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2005

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Think back to a long time ago, when civilization and political structure did not exist; a time when humans were merely primitive beings acting on their most basic instincts with no structure, reason, or intellect-- a time referred to as the state of nature. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were three philosophers that developed innovative theories regarding human nature; each made attempts to explain human society and culture through envisioning what man would be like if he were uncivilized or existing in "the state of nature." Rousseau, in his essays "The Discourse on Inequality" and "The Social Contract," sheds a new light on the origins of man and how he has come to be civil as we see ourselves today. His theory is markedly different from previous thinkers Hobbes and Locke, and through these differences Rousseau constructs a more accurate and justified theory of the state of nature.

With this theory as a foundation, Rousseau is able to develop the idea of the Social Contract, in which uniform social agreement serves the best interest of the people.

Hobbe, Locke and Rousseau all agree that before men came to govern themselves they existed in the state of nature. This state of nature discards biblical accounts of human creation and focuses on man before society and reason. It is important that we probe the similarities and differences of each man's theory in order to understand Rousseau's interpretations of man under these conditions. Starting with Hobbes' theory, we can begin to see how Rousseau's revolutionary ideas were an improvement.

Hobbes perception on the origins of natural man relies on the fact that there is no power or law enforcing authority to restrain humans. With this established we can look to Darwin's prescription: survival of the fittest. Hobbes suggests that man...