Comparison Of Thomas Hobbes And Jean-Jacques Rousseau And Realism

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Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau both sought to create new political theories which would deal with the issues of their time. Both authors have had their works interpreted and applied to the international realm. Many international relations scholars have taken the theories developed by Hobbes and Rousseau as being indicative to the “realists” school of thought. However, an understanding of the realism school of thought will provide us with a means by which we can measure and better understand the two authors place within the paradigm. As we shall see, the theories which were developed by Hobbes and Rousseau do not make them “stone cold realists”. Rather, it will be shown that although they both advocate certain principles of realism, much of their theories are in fact antithetical to realism. Firstly, classical realism emerged out of the destruction of the First World War. Hans Morgenthau popularized the school and laid down its fundamental principles. He believed that human nature is unchanging and based on universal laws cultivate within us a desire to dominate others. From…show more content…
Man in his original state is inherently good, but is corrupted by the “progress” of society. For Rousseau, the societal ascent of our species is paralleled by our moral descent. Through the development of civilization, our individual and autonomous will becomes entangled with the wills of all others, until we ultimately lose our freedom since we are dependent on the will of others. Rousseau’s formulization of the social contract sought to reconcile individual autonomy with political society. The “general will” is the vehicle by which freedom and political authority can be synthesized. Consequently, “amore propre”, the idea of self-love which is at the root of human vice come be replaced with “amore-de-soi” which would free one’s individual will from its entanglement with others and achieve true
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