Definition O Fsocial Contract, State of Nature, General Will; Rousseau Analysis

Topics: Political philosophy, Social contract, State of nature Pages: 4 (1412 words) Published: April 18, 2011
Social Progressions
As man progresses from his primitive origins he begins to create societies and groups. As these societies grow more complex he must adapt his own methods and progress through a series of social progressions. Inherently, man is a social being and tends toward a herd animal existence. Man’s superior intelligence allows him to survive, and in groups he can remain atop the food chain, but as a solitary creature, he does not stand in such esteem; joining together and forming groups is a natural progression for protection and survival. The State of Nature is the human condition absent from any structures or social order. It is the state where man would exist if he did exist in groups or have any sort of social order. It is the natural condition of existence that gives a person the ability to conduct one’s life as one best sees fit without the free from the interference of others; in some senses, this state could be considered anarchy as there is no defined social order. As the inherent nature of man is to be social, it can be argued that this state can only exist in a theoretical context; David Hume states, "’Tis utterly impossible for men to remain any considerable time in that savage condition, which precedes society...” (Wikipedia, “State of Nature”). Rousseau postulates: The State of Nature was a peaceful and quixotic time. People lived solitary, uncomplicated lives. Their few needs were easily satisfied by nature...As time passed, however, humanity faced certain changes. As the overall population increased, the means by which people could satisfy their needs had to change. People slowly began to live together in small families, and then in small communities.” (Friend) An individual’s actions are guided by self interest and bound by his personal power and conscience. Inherent in man is a “shared library [that] is a consequence of man’s nature. It’s first law is that of self-preservation: it’s first concern is for what it owes...
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