Human nature and its relevance in determining behaviors, predictions, and conclusions has caused dispute among philosophers throughout the ages. Political philosophy with its emphasis on government legitimacy, justice, laws, and rights guided the works of the 17th and 18th century philosophical writings of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Through Thomas Hobbes world-renowned publication Leviathan and Rousseau’s discourses on basic political principals and concepts, each man validated their thoughts on human nature and what is required for a successful society within their respective government confines. The distinct differences between Hobbes and Rousseau’s opinions on the natural state of man frame the argument of the different parenting styles the each man would inevitably apply towards raising a child. Raising a child is a timeless analogy that can be used to contrast the education and discipline that one would apply in the endless situations life provides.
The opposing ideologies of human nature by Hobbes and Rousseau would reflect in their parenting styles. Both men agree that nature is directly relevant to man and that perhaps humans are closes to their natural state at infancy. Nature (the Art whereby God hath made and governes the World) is by the Art of man. (Hobbes 81) Their differences become clear when discussing mans relationship to society.
Hobbes argues that man is born a natural savage who is unruly and undisciplined. Society saves the human soul by forcing it into a civilized society that requires proper behavior for survival. This viewpoint is relatable to parenting on the basis of children at birth are uncivilized beings with no sense of right or wrong. These characteristics are only instilled in the...
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...eau. According to Hobbes, the fundamental law of nature, or the general rule of reason, “that every man, ought to endeavor peace, as a farre as has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek.” (190) For Hobbes, we must seek peace for civilization because it is civilization that saves us from ourselves. For Rousseau, in order to obtain peace we must regain the goodness from our primitive state that was deprived from us once we entered into civilization.
Hobbes, Thomas, and Crawford B. Macpherson. Leviathan. Harmondsworth,
Middlesex [u.a.: Penguin, 1985. Print.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Donald A. Cress. Basic Political Writings: "Discourse
on the Sciences and the Arts", "Discourse on the Origin of Inequality", "Discourse on Political Economy", "On the Social Contract", “The State of War”. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987. Print.
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