Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The General Will

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The belief that society should be ruled under one universal idea, the “general will,” is the heart of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s philosophy. In the state of nature, people were born innocent and free, they found themselves at the finest stage of life, where people only lived for themselves and were content with their absolute independence. However, people became corrupt with the uncommon influences of a built civilization and society. Rousseau’s concept of reality is demonstrated on different levels, since his idea of the general will relates to the living notion of the state as not solely real, but more real than the people existing among its borders. An individual is part of a whole, which is what matters in society since a person’s own values…show more content…
Rousseau’s most idealist conception revolves around the statement of the enforcement of freedom. This is another perspective of analysis for the general will since it is also a normative claim instituted in a normative community. The general will is the basis of the social contract, and the social contract is an agreement by individuals resulting in the formation of an organized society. This is where the political aspect comes into paly, since laws are acts of general will and any state is a republic if it is governed by laws, then the general will in a republic is always right; however, the judgment which guides it is not always enlightened. "When the whole people decrees for the whole people, it is considering only itself; and if a relation is then formed, it is between two aspects of the entire object, without there being any division of the whole. In that case the matter about which the decree is made is, like the decreeing will, general. This act is what I call a law" (Book II, VI). We can see that the laws presented in our community are also acts of general will that all individuals must abide to in order to be part of the social

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