Locke And Rousseau On The State Of Nature Essay

Locke And Rousseau On The State Of Nature Essay

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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 ...

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...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.

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