Essay on Jean Jacques Rousseau

Essay on Jean Jacques Rousseau

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Philosophy 4: Paper Two (Prompt #2)
Rousseau believes that even when one votes in the minority they can obey the law and still be free. But, “how can the opposing minority be both free and subject to laws to which they have not consented?” (Rousseau, pg. 153) Rousseau’s response is that citizens must consent to all the laws because “ to inhabit the territory is to submit to the sovereign.”(Rousseau, p.153) In accordance with the social contract, when a citizen votes they should completely surrender their personal interest and vote for what they believe to be the general will. The general will of each individual is considered to be their real will when it comes to social policy. The majority vote will depict the general will, and the minority shows the citizens that are mistaken about the true nature of the general will. (Rousseau, p.153) Therefore, even if you voted with the minority and ended up being wrong about your real will, you still remained true to obeying your own reasons and deliberated freely. In the end what you wanted was the general will and voting is how you find out what it is. I do not believe that Rousseau’s reasoning succeeds because he does not give an adequate explanation for how the people voting are suppose to identify what the general will is.
In order to live in a particular state a citizen must agree to live by the rules of that state or prepare to possibly be punished for not consenting. Rousseau believes men came together to avoid extinction by combining forces and implementing a set of laws and motives in order to establish more power. The social contract provides a way of combining the efforts to bond society, without sacrificing individual freedom. In order to accomplish this, each individual ...


... middle of paper ...


...aving people vote according to what they think would be best for the general good, maybe it would be to get an idea of the interest of each member of society and use the sum of their results to produce what the best way to reach the general will would be. There are several other options that may considered that with further study may prove to be more reasonable than Rousseau’s view on the topic.
Work Cited
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. Harmondsworth (Middx.): Penguin, 1971. 49-154. Web. .



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