Essay on Comparing Locke´s Natural Law with Rousseau´s Discourse on Inequality

Essay on Comparing Locke´s Natural Law with Rousseau´s Discourse on Inequality

Length: 2789 words (8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

  The relationship between nature, the state and individuals is a complex one; political philosophers have been studying these relationships ever since the dawn of time, with the goal being to determine the best way in which the people relate to nature. Based on the ideas of philosopher John Locke, the state does not have the ability to infringe upon the right of people to determine their own destiny; he believes that mankind’s best state is to bring the best parts of their natural instincts into society, collecting together into a “state of perfect freedom.” Conversely, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that mankind was at its best in its natural state, behaving like an animal and worrying only about its individual needs – the introduction of society makes them into monsters with unequal relationships to each other. These two philosophies are distinctly different, going under two wildly different notions about the influence of nature in a person’s life. Between these two philosophers, a complex understanding of the relationship between man and the natural order can be found, as well as the consequences of evil due to nature.
Locke on Natural Law
John Locke’s ideas are heavily linked with right-libertarianism: in typical liberalism and libertarianism, a small government is the road to a great civilization; individual liberty and free will is valued more than anything else, and people must be permitted to look after their own interests. Free market capitalism as it stands today is often derived from this principle, since it is conceived that the idea of a free market would permit individuals to achieve their dreams based on their will and resources. John Locke was often said to be the Father of Classical Liberali...


... middle of paper ...


...he natural man focuses on himself alone; Locke believes that man can be advantaged by modern society, as long as he brings natural laws like private property into the civilized world. These two philosophers have decidedly opposing views, insofar as Locke thinks the civilized world can include natural law and Rousseau does not. Given the severely entrenched nature of civilization in human history and life, it is easy to see how Rousseau’s philosophy can seem cynical; Locke’s perspective is much more willing to work within the confines of society that have been established.




Works Cited

Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government. Awnsham Churchill, 1689.

Melchert, Norman. The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy (Oxford University Press), 2010.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. A Discourse on Inequality. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Natural Hazards Can Have Devastating Impacts On Communities Essay

- “Natural hazards can have devastating impacts on communities.” Professor Gardoni states in lecture. He goes on to explain how natural hazards create losses for communities and individuals. These losses can accumulate to billions of dollars. The central issue is Tort Law: who should bear the costs of a disaster, the victims, the community, or the government. Risk is defined as two dimensions: the probability of occurrence and the associated consequences of a set of hazardous scenarios. Looking at a scale of risk the higher ranked is determined by how large the consequences are due to greater probability....   [tags: Hazard, Risk, Nature, Natural hazard]

Research Papers
960 words (2.7 pages)

Essay Bloodchild: Gender Inequality in Society

- Bloodchild by Octavia Butler is seen as a story about the relationship between alien oppressors and a group oppressed humans. It has also been described as a love story between the human narrator and the chief alien. In her afterword, she describes “Bloodchild” as “a love story between two very different beings,” “a coming of age story” and a “pregnant man story.”(Hardy) However, when one comparing Butler’s “Bloodchild” to Simone De Beauvoir’s essay “The second sex”, similarities surrounding the social issues of gender inequality arise....   [tags: Octavia Butler, women, patriarchal society]

Research Papers
1452 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Kantian And Natural Law Theory

- Morally-driven issues are often the centerpiece of political discussion and dinnertime conversation alike, and while each individual may hold their own moral beliefs, resolutions are found much more easily when a unifying theory is utilized in order to define and extract a universally agreed upon solution. For this example, I will consider a case where the debate arises over the exploitation of the family of a suspected terrorist, by means of non-lethal torture, in order to extract information from the terrorist that may go otherwise unknown....   [tags: Immanuel Kant, Morality, Ethics, Natural law]

Research Papers
1294 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Natural Law And Human Law

- Natural law can be considered to be the root of human morality and Aquinas’s idea of a Natural law implies that it is divine, immutable and eternal, but also very general with many grey areas. The fact that natural law is very general causes us humans to create human laws that are created to handle specific cases, which natural law may not be able to find a just solution. According to Aquinas Natural law is to “general” to handle the many different situations that can be found in the legal system and human law allows us to find a clear and just answer with minimal errors; which is not the case with natural law....   [tags: Law, Human rights, United Nations, LAW]

Research Papers
1524 words (4.4 pages)

Comparing John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau Essay

- Comparing John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all dealt with the issue of political freedom within a society. John Locke's “The Second Treatise of Government”, Mill's “On Liberty”, and Rousseau’s “Discourse On The Origins of Inequality” are influential and compelling literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinker’s ideal state present divergent visions of the very nature of man and his freedom....   [tags: Politics Political Freedom Papers]

Research Papers
2030 words (5.8 pages)

Essay about Comparing Positive and Natural Law

- Comparing Positive and Natural Law “Do what you believe is right.” This is a phrase common to us all, brought to our attention by parents, reinforced by teachers, and preached by leaders. But how does one define what is right. Is it what we believe in our hearts, or is it what we know is acceptable. This is a predominant dilemma that can be traced throughout society, and is the main focal point of Sophocles’ play Antigone. Written in 441 B.C., Antigone is one of the earliest records of the conflict between Natural law and Positive law....   [tags: Positivism Philosophy Philosophical Essays]

Research Papers
1441 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Comparing and Contrasting Plato's The Republic and Thomas More's Utopia

- ... Men dedicated themselves to a specific trade. The most common trades in the Utopia world are the manufacturing of wool, flax and carpentering. Each person is required to work in one trade, but they are not limited. If someone wants to learn about multiple trades, they are welcome to do so. The Utopians have a 24-hour cycle in which the time is divided in half; half for the day and half for the night. Of the 12 hours in the day, 6 of them are required for work and the other 6 hours are divided into 3 before dinner and 3 after dinner....   [tags: work, duties, abilities]

Research Papers
600 words (1.7 pages)

Seventeenth Century Development of Natural Law Essay

- The seventeenth century witnessed what has been called the "heroic" period in the development of modern natural law theory.1 Beginning with Hugo Grotius, Protestant thinkers began to experiment with scholastic natural law ideas to produce a distinctive and highly successful tradition of natural jurisprudence that would come to dominate European political thought. Viewed from the eighteenth century, the success of the tradition could be, and often was, taken for granted, but such retrospective views could often conceal the extent to which the early pioneers faced real challenges in their attempts to reconcile natural law ideas with the rigors of Protestant theology....   [tags: Natural Law History]

Free Essays
949 words (2.7 pages)

Positive and Natural Law Theories Essay

- H. L. Hart was an influential British philosopher, who revolutionized the philosophy of law and methodology in jurisprudence. Influenced by Jeremy Bentham (utilitarian approach), another prominent British thinker, and John Austin, he established a new ground for the school of legal positivism, especially the analysis of the legal concepts and the idea of the separation of law and morals. One of the most important works of him is "The Concept of Law", published in 1961, aims to analyze a relationship between law, morality, and coercion....   [tags: law, morals, separation, contract]

Research Papers
1422 words (4.1 pages)

Comparing John Locke and Thomas Hobbes Essay

- The formation of government is one of the central themes for both Hobbes and Locke. Whether or not men naturally form a government, or must form a government, is based on man’s basic nature. According to Hobbes, a government must be formed to preserve life and prevent loss of property. According to Locke, a government arises to protect life and property. Governments are born of inequality and formed to administer equality. Hobbes goes into a lot of detail concerning man’s interactions with one another including ways in which man can seek to live "together in Peace, and Unity" (page 69)....   [tags: Politics Philosophy Sociology]

Research Papers
1267 words (3.6 pages)