Essay on Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

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Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau 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 this assumption, interstate relations revolve solely around the notion of a state’s “power” relative to other states. Kenneth Waltz formalized realism and removed human nature entirely out of the equation of international relations. He argued that, that it is the structure of the international system which establishes the conditions by which states interact. The structure imposes anarchy and under these conditions, all states are rational unitary actors with no overarching authority to maintain interstate harmony. Thus, cooperation between is not possible, and states must rely on themselves. Consequently, material capabilities of states become the benchmar...


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...war, has been used by realists to explain the natural conditions which states find themselves in the international realm. Rousseau indeed acknowledged the international system in Europe to be one based on a balance of power dynamic and that states were inclined towards aggression. Yet, although both philosophers provide resources to the realist school of thought, they are not full-fledge supporters or advocates of “stone cold realism” in either a structural or classical sense. Although the authors are central to the school of realism through the development of certain crucial ideas, their support is limited. Much of their token terminology has been transplanted onto an entire school of thought which they did not overtly investigate when writing their theories. The intent and context of their literature are pivotal aspects of their philosophies which realism neglects.

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Essay on Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

- 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....   [tags: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

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