The third book of Rousseau’s Social Contract is the most theoretical and philosophical. On one hand it covers familiar ground: the forms of government (democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy), how any form of government can be a “republic” (in the traditional sense of pertaining or relating to the public thing), why there are no pure democracies, … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, III
In concluding our series in examining fascism, its roots, its concrete manifestations, and its legacies, we have noted what is fascism and what is not fascism. The common threads of fascist thought include: the synthesis of the people with the state for militaristic and warring ends (since conflict defines life through and through), that fascism’s … Continue reading The Specters of Fascism, Part VII
One of the great debates of scholarship surrounding Locke is his “natural law” or law of nature theory. There are those that argue he stands squarely within the Ciceronian-Augustinian-Thomistic tradition wherein the natural law is not only moral, but it will, at end, produce happiness for us. There are others who claim otherwise – that … Continue reading Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?
Plato is, arguably, the most important philosopher in the Western tradition. This is not because everyone is a Platonist, or has been a Platonist. Though many have. This is because Plato started, at least in codification through writing, the discipline we remember – and still practice today – as philosophy. But Plato is a deep … Continue reading Misunderstanding Plato
One of the key aspects of Rousseau’s social contract theory is that, unlike with Hobbes and Locke, he really doesn’t explain why men embrace the social contract. This is, again, because Rousseau takes the idealistic picture of humanity in the state of nature. Man is born naturally good. He is pure. He is a moral … Continue reading Rousseau: On the Social Contract
It is customary to position Hobbes and Locke against each other. In reality, most philosophers and political philosophers see themselves as two sides of the same coin, much like Plato and Aristotle (especially in the eyes of Plotinus and the Christian synthesizers of Plato and Aristotle). So what does the social contract entail in Hobbes … Continue reading Hobbes and Locke: On the Social Contract
The topic of the general will is always a topic of Rousseauian studies. It is central to his political theory. It is the bedrock which unites the first two books of the Social Contract, conflating the social contract to be the general will itself. So what is Rousseau’s general will? The general will is the … Continue reading Rousseau’s General Will