Political theory

Topics: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, State of nature Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: December 11, 2013
Anthony Spencer
Professor Robinson
Political Theory
Thought Piece three
For a human to lead a truly free life, they must dissolve all ties to civil and social existence and live as an individual. Once you enter into society you give up your right to freedom in exchange for protection from the sovereign state. In doing so you have chosen to be bound by society and it’s government. That interference in the individual’s day-to-day life should be limited in an ideal state, for too much would be a determent to society. The correct proportion of government to freedom is the biggest obstacle to human liberty aside from the individuals themselves. When people elect to come together and create a sovereign state they are giving up their right to act solely as an individual. It is this entrance into the state that is cause for empathy and morality between citizens of the state. In exchange for entering into society the individual is bound, but only by what will cause it’s death. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a modern thinker who brought the theory of the social contract and the state of nature with him. The state of nature is the hypothetical, prehistoric place and time where human beings live uncorrupted by society. The most crucial characteristic of the state of nature is that the citizens have complete physical freedom and are at liberty to essentially do as they wish. Rousseau's principal aim in writing The Social Contract is to determine how freedom may be possible in civil society. By entering into society, we place restraints on our behavior, which make it possible to live in a community. The state of nature is what he refers to as the state when people are truly free. Rousseau strips away all the ideals that centuries of development have imposed on the true nature of man. He comes to the conclusion that many of the ideas we take for granted, such as property, law, and moral inequality; actually have no basis in nature. For Rousseau, modern society generally...
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