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

The Great Divide: Political Philosophy, Ancient vs. Modern

The history of political philosophy is often divided between the classics (or ancients) in contradistinction to the moderns.  Political philosophy, from the time of Socrates and Plato, has always been regarded as the queen of the philosophical enterprises because it most pertains to the question of being human.  Hence, political philosophy is necessarily tied to … Continue reading The Great Divide: Political Philosophy, Ancient vs. Modern

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

Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?

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?

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

Hobbes and Locke: 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