Rousseau’s General Will

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

The Real Meaning of Plato’s Crito

The Crito is probably the most famous Platonic dialogue after Republic, or it certainly is one of the more memorable dialogues and rivals Phaedo, Symposium, and Laws as the most famous dialogue after the Republic.  Part of the charm of Crito is its relatively short length and seemingly straightforward dialogue.  But what is the true … Continue reading The Real Meaning of Plato’s Crito

Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Chapters 1-4

John Locke is commonly thought of as the “father of limited government” and the progenitor of the rights-based tradition of political philosophy called “liberalism.”  He is often contrasted with the absolutism of Hobbes: Locke’s government is minimal where Hobbes’s government is all-powerful, Locke’s State of Nature is good and benign where Hobbes’s state of nature … Continue reading Reading Locke’s Two Treatises: Chapters 1-4

Plato vs. Glaucon: What is the Purpose of the Social Contract?

Glaucon is Plato’s older brother and one of the many sophists that we encounter in the many dialogues.  He is given a fairly prominent position in the early books of The Republic, coming to prominence in Book II where Glaucon defends an early account of what we call the "Social Contract" in philosophy.  The social … Continue reading Plato vs. Glaucon: What is the Purpose of the Social Contract?