Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question

Karl Marx’s essay “On the Jewish Question,” at the face of it, seems like a typical anti-Semitic piece of writing where Marx decried the god of the Jews as the idol of mammon.  However, the essay is of political importance as it details several noticeable things about Marx’s political thought.  First is his assertion that … Continue reading Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question

Hegel on History, IV: The Age of Freedom and End of History

We last left off with Hegel’s philosophy of history with the failure of the Aristocratic Age to produce universal freedom.  If we recall, the Aristocratic Age, that age of great movement, creativity, and the arts, and the dialectic between the aristocrats and plebeians, failed because there was no notion that all men were equal.  This … Continue reading Hegel on History, IV: The Age of Freedom and End of History

Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex

Simone de Beauvoir stands alongside Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus as the trinity of French existentialist writers that most people will encounter in their dealings with modern 20th century existentialism after Heidegger.  Influenced by philosophers like Augustine, Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger, the French existentialists took their intellectual forebears and turned them in new directions.  … Continue reading Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex

Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau’s second discourse on inequality builds from his first.  The second discourse contains his famous depiction of the noble savage, how man loses his freedom and equality through the establishment of property and society, and his ruminations about how reason corrupts human living and how knowledge is used as a tool of oppression and violence.  … Continue reading Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau: The Social Contract, IV

Moving into the final book of Rousseau’s Social Contract, we see the final touches to Rousseau’s politics of unanimity and legitimization.  This is the most important thing to recognize in Rousseau, and what separates him from Hobbes and Locke.  Rousseau is thoroughly “democratic,” he seeks all persons to set aside their differences and personal pursuits … Continue reading Rousseau: The Social Contract, IV

Rousseau: The Social Contract, III

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

Rousseau: On the Social Contract

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