Locke And Rousseau On The State Of Nature Essay

Locke And Rousseau On The State Of Nature Essay

Length: 1100 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Locke and Rousseau both discuss the topic of state of nature. They both agree that self-preservation is a fundamental rule in the state of nature. Locke says “Everyone, as he is bound to preserve himself…ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind” (§6) and Rousseau likewise states that one fundamental principle is “our well-being and our self-preservation” (14). They both agree that man has a genuine concern and care for humanity. Although they share this idea, the two are utterly different. Locke believes that in the state of nature, man has been granted many powers that enable him to have more options and decisions. While Rousseau believes man is a savage animal and lives with bare-necessities and limited knowledge. Locke and Rousseau share some ideas, but mainly have opposing opinions. Locke and Rousseau differ on how an individual lives in the state of nature.
Locke and Rousseau oppose on the principles man follows in the state of nature. Both Locke and Rousseau present laws which would have governed men in the state of nature, but their rules do not align with one another. Locke states “the state of nature has a law of nature to govern it…reason” (§6). Locke believes that from the beginning, man has been bestowed with reason. Therefore Locke argues that reason is a fundamental force which guides man in the state of nature. Although Rousseau presents the opposite idea. Rousseau believes that the state of nature was “prior to reason” (14). He thinks reason is subsequent of society, and would not be in the state of nature, therefore reason would be unnatural. Thus Rousseau poses two principles he believes were present in the state of nature; “of which one makes us ardently interested in our well-being and our ...


... middle of paper ...


...cause he only knows himself and his concerns. Locke and Rousseau both know natural man had to depart from the state of nature, but they differed for who would benefit in joining together. How natural man behaved and interacted in the state of nature decided why he would join society.
Locke and Rousseau differ greatly on their ideas and opinions on the state of nature. Locke believes reason is the fundamental principle in nature and that it is involved in all the actions natural man does. Rousseau believes that in the state of nature man is a savage and lives with two main principles: self-preservation and distaste for pain. Their fundamental difference of what rules natural man obeys influences all the other differences of how they are differently equal and why they would depart from the state of nature. Locke and Rousseau have distinct ideas on the state of nature.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, And Rousseau 's Views On The Existence Of The State Of Nature

- Throughout the Age of Enlightenment, thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau contemplated the authority of the state over the individual: they are some of the most prominent theorists of this time period, and their studies have aided in the establishment of the Declaration of Independence as well as modern democracy. Each of these men’s historical expositions -- Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke’s The Second Treatise, and Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality and The Social Contract -- outline how man’s authentic state of nature contributes to the necessity of a social contract which exists in order to maintain civil society....   [tags: State of nature, Political philosophy]

Strong Essays
1308 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about The State Of Nature By John Locke

- In the state of nature, mankind has utmost freedoms to do whatever he or she wants. John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government contends that the state of nature is the state of equality, where all are free to do as they please. But in this situation, men do not have the benefits of an established government. Security, privacy, and stable resources are provided not by the government, but by an individuals ability to secure such amenities. According to Swiss philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, those in the state of nature may form a mutually beneficial contract in order to survive....   [tags: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Strong Essays
2370 words (6.8 pages)

Aristotle, Locke, And Rousseau 's Social Contract Essay

- How do you describe a society. A common answer would be how it conducts its government. Governments are perceived as an essential part of our society, and it is difficult to imagine a world without them. However, early philosophers considered the presence of government to be a topic of concern. How did man first start to develop the ideas of government. There were many philosophers who took interest in this question such as Aristotle, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jacques sought to answer the question by developing social contract theories....   [tags: Political philosophy, State of nature]

Strong Essays
1963 words (5.6 pages)

Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke : Interpretations of Human Nature Essay

- Through time people have always wondered what it is that makes us who we are. It has been our human nature that has kept us intrigued with ourselves, and our relationships with others. With this curiosity came various interpretations as to our human nature, each changing the way we see the societal world we live in. With each interpretation came a new understanding of people and the relationship they hold with each other. Human nature has been one of the most studied elements of the world we live in....   [tags: Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke]

Strong Essays
1594 words (4.6 pages)

The State Of Nature : A Questionable Conceit Of The Enlightenment Essay

- The State of Nature: A Questionable Conceit of the Enlightenment Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are all Enlightenment-era philosophers from the disciplines of early social and political science that each propose and outline their own forms of civil society (all of which rely on the idea of a social contract in some way) and corresponding models of sovereignty. The three authors fall along a spectrum of ideologies. Hobbes argues for an absolute monarchy enforced by a social contract that requires citizens to divest all their power into a single leader, known as the “Leviathan” (Hobbes 120-121)....   [tags: Political philosophy, State of nature]

Strong Essays
1083 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Locke and Rousseau

- Locke and Rousseau present themselves as two very distinct thinkers. They both use similar terms, but conceptualize them differently to fulfill very different purposes. As such, one ought not be surprised that the two theorists do not understand liberty in the same way. Locke discusses liberty on an individual scale, with personal freedom being guaranteed by laws and institutions created in civil society. By comparison, Rousseau’s conception portrays liberty as an affair of the entire political community, and is best captured by the notion of self-rule....   [tags: Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1787 words (5.1 pages)

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

-   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...   [tags: John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Strong Essays
2789 words (8 pages)

On the Virtues of Private Property in Locke and Rousseau Essay

- On the Virtues of Private Property in Locke and Rousseau John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, following their predecessor Thomas Hobbes, both attempt to explain the development and dissolution of society and government. They begin, as Hobbes did, by defining the “state of nature”—a time before man found rational thought. In the Second Treatise[1] and the Discourse on Inequality[2], Locke and Rousseau, respectively, put forward very interesting and different accounts of the state of nature and the evolution of man, but the most astonishing difference between the two is their conceptions of property....   [tags: Locke Rousseau Philosophical Essays]

Strong Essays
2220 words (6.3 pages)

Essay on John Locke, Rousseau, And Napoleon

- John Locke, Rousseau, and Napoleon all have very different views on what would make a good society. Locke uses a democracy/republican type view that many countries still model after today. Locke’s view on a happy society is the most open and kind to its people, out of the three. Rousseau takes the complete opposite stance from Locke in thinking a more dictatorship government would be what is best for society as a whole as what is good for one person is good for one’s society. Napoleon plays by his own rules with telling people he will follow Lockean like views only to really want to be an absolutist government under his own power....   [tags: Political philosophy, John Locke, Liberty]

Strong Essays
1289 words (3.7 pages)

Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau Essay examples

- What is common in Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau is state of nature. In the state of nature all people are equal – although they have different talents they are equal, because having different talents doesn’t prevent equality - and have same rights but in time they try to command each other and make domination upon them. Hobbes associate this desire with the effort to dispel the insecurity which is caused by equality between people. According to his opinion, if two people desire the same thing that they can not possess at the same time, they turn on each other....   [tags: Politics Philosophy Sociology]

Strong Essays
2091 words (6 pages)