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Rousseau, Hobbes and Locke

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Even though Rousseau partly agrees with Hobbes and Locke, that in a state of nature human beings strive to achieve their self-preservation, Rousseau is distinct from Hobbes and Locke concerning the likelihood of society falling into chaos when in the state of nature. Instead, Rousseau believes that throughout their life experiences, they conform their own natures. Rousseau's human's natures are not thus predetermined. Rousseau pictures the savage men as solitary human beings, able to survive alone, and their desires are merely food, sex and sleep; savages are moved to a significant extent by natural compassion.

Rousseau also noted that because men are naturally savage, their immediate understandings of life environments control their determination to act. Provided that the humans savages have free will, and the capacity of self-improvement, according to Rousseau's elaboration, 'Mankind must have made very considerable progress, and acquired considerable knowledge and industry which they must also have transmitted and increased from age to age, before they arrived at this last point of the state of nature' (362).

Hobbes believes that people have a natural inclination to ruthlessly compete against one another for self-protection. Contrary to Hobbes' dismal description of human nature, Rousseau is optimistic about people's instincts due to the existence of self-love and pity. Rousseau adds that motivation based on self-preservation is affected by other human beings' actions. Accordingly, Rousseau points to morality, which is distinguished from Locke's statement of men's possession of moral sense. In a state of nature, there is no room for law, right and morality except the quality of pity and self-love. Rousseau simply means that people tend to avoid harming others because of our natural aversion to pain and suffering; "after having represented to his neighbors the horror of a situation which armed every man against the rest, and made their possessions as burdensome to them as their wants, ... he readily devised plausible arguments to make them close with his design (365)"

Although Rousseau's central claim of the work is that human beings are basically good by nature, they were corrupted by the complex historical events that resulted in civil society. Because the distribution of resources are not the same to everyone, the state of nature eventually alters throughout the experiences of unequal possession, according to Rousseau's assertion. As a consequence, the private property causes inequality, mutual dependence and jealousy; "The destruction of equality was attended by the most terrible disorders. Usurpation by the rich, robbery by the poor, and the unbridled passions of both, suppressed the cries of natural compassion and still feeble voice of justice, and filled man with avarice, ambition, and vice. Between the title of the



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