Philosophy Essay; State of Nature

Topics: Political philosophy, Oligarchy, Democracy Pages: 4 (1412 words) Published: February 14, 2011
Over time history has shown that in order to maintain a functional working society, man needs to adhere to a certain set of laws and rules that act as guidelines for their self-preservation. This theory is defined as a social contract. The philosophers that specialise in this topic are known as social theorists. They argue on what is the most successful social contract theory in order for society to move forwards economically and industrially. The concept of ruling by majority is one that is often discussed between philosophers based on it's effectiveness as the basis for forming a government. Other theories that are used to challenge or support this are the influence of democracy and the problems with dictatorship. Ultimately each theory is brought back to what is best for the people living in that society.

Rousseau believed that in order for a society to be justified it must 'best affirm the individual freedom of all citizens'. In Rousseau's theory of a state of nature, he claims that human beings were once able to live 'uncorrupted by society' and could essentially do as they wished. Within all states of nature, when conflicts being to arise each society needs some form of structured government to offer protection and security. For this theory to be successful, each individual must relinquish a portion of their freedom for choice in order to gain protection and maintain physical freedom within their society. Rousseau believed in a 'collective will' theory where the people are represented by a 'sovereign' who expresses the general will that aims for the common good. The sovereign is not one singular person although they defend the rights and desires of individuals. However, Plato believed that the theory of giving the people the choice over the actions of their society cannot be successful as it is assumes that they have the ability to determine what is the best decision. By assuming this one is not considering that when making a decision, people are often...
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