Hobbes vs. Rousseau

Topics: Drug addiction, Political philosophy, Civil society Pages: 4 (1427 words) Published: November 10, 2008
Hobbes vs. Rousseau
Drug abuse is obviously a huge issue in our country, but how would Hobbes and Rousseau’s opinions differ on it? Hobbes talks about individual self interests and punishment. Rousseau talks about education and socialization. The both believe however that the sovereign should decide these laws Hobbes’ law of nature can be summarized as a general rule discovered by reason that forbids a person from doing anything destructive to his own life and gives her the right of self-preservation. The laws of nature state that human beings must strive for peace, which will best be achieved by contract.(Hobbes 86) If people read this thought it would seem that Hobbes would think that drug use definitely would not fit this law. Most people seem to believe that drugs will hurt their bodies. Even the people that do abuse drugs seem to know that it isn’t a good idea. People who also use drugs may believe that the pain they are going through is use for them than the drugs they are putting into their bodies. Rousseau’s state of nature is how human life would be like without the shaping influence of society. It almost seems that if society did not condemn drug use then people would not worry about the negative effects. Rousseau talks about the ultimate natural state and that means anything from the earth would be natural; so by the law drugs that aren’t chemically made would be allowed. Also, it states that we are free to do whatever we want. When we enter into Rousseau’s civil society we let “the voice of duty take the place of physical impulse, and right to desire, that man, who has hitherto thought only of himself, finds himself compelled to act on other principles.”(Rousseau 64) When a man enters society he has other responsibilities to worry about, so in today’s society people have to worry about the people who love them and the responsibilities the have to keep in order so he can succeed. It seems Rousseau liked to focus on the commonwealth was...

Cited: Hobbes, Thomas, and J. C. Gaskin. The Leviathan. Ed. J. C. Gaskin. New York: Oxford UP, 1998.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, and Maurice Cranston. The Social Contract. Trans. Maurice Cranston. New York: Penguin Classics, 1969.
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