Kant And Rousseau On Human Nature

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The development of philosophical ideas requires an understanding of contemporary thought and can be applied to science and humanities, along with morals and politics. Human nature is the basic substance shared by human beings, and is thus important in making sense of society and all its complexities along with the individual man and his liberties. Two prominent philosophers, Rousseau and Kant, express conjectures on human nature in their essays. Rousseau focuses on man in the untainted state of nature. He believes that the lack of knowledge and morality in savage man is better than the evils resulting from social inequalities, insisting a shift towards what once was in the state of nature will reduce debauchery by ensuring innocence and virtue. …show more content…
He argues that the innate sympathetic tendencies of human nature result in the promotion of the collective good. He emphasizes that political distinctions come from the exact conflicts that stem from inequality: for example, social stratification. Rousseau and his way of thinking can be classified as Romanticist, which is obvious in his belief that “it is by the activity of our passions, that our reason improves”, suggesting he considers emotion and enthusiasm to be more significant than rationality. (Rousseau, 97) He continues to equate passions to need for savage man and sees no possible need for reasoning in the state of human nature where the only aspirations or fears relate to physical, instinctual forces of nature: sex, sustenance and sleep. He still believes this simple ignorance is better than society and that reason is not of the utmost importance although it is the foundation of most …show more content…
In part one of the discourses on inequality, Rousseau depicts humans in a perfect state of nature, without civilization and society. In his natural condition, Rousseau believes humans in nature to be timid, reclusive, and untroubled with not enough intellect to have concern about the past or the future. Rousseau constantly exalts this lack of knowledge and understanding as the best way to be, though it is difficult to understand this perspective. Why would people live in ignorance if they have the ability to be informed? Rousseau is arguing that knowledge, property, and thoughts of potential threat are what lead to war. In terms of human nature, the detriments of all societal evils outweigh all the benefits of society and it is better to be nothing than to be destructive, according to Rousseau. With the development of family, property, pride, and then agriculture, Rousseau establishes his belief that the wealthy create a civil society to protect their property, which thereby solidifies the presence of social constructs and insignificant information disturbing the natural values of self-preservation, pity and social nature. It is this external dichotomy between what you have and what you do not have that creates social order. The division of labor creates a class system where the classes then become interdependent. The wealthy still run the state and enforce

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