John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government is most known for his justification of private property, but there are many other theories, though not as popular, that are equally as important. One of these is his justification of inequality, which will be covered in this essay. Locke says that until the invention of money, there was no point to accumulate more property, or wealth, than one could use because it would spoil. That changed after the introduction of money because money does not spoil, which allows people to accumulate more than they need. Locke argues that since men agreed to use money as a way to fairly possess more than they could use, they also agreed to the consequence of inequality. Though Locke presents a compelling argument,
Saint Augustine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, even though approximately fourteen hundred years comes between their existences, similarly commenced on a journey to find their respective individual truths; which are portrayed through their identically named autobiographical works, Confessions. They each relate their “eudemonistic explorations” (Naugle 1) which are alike in intention but exceedingly dissimilar in representation. Augustine’s Confessions portrays a “story of his self discovery and salvation, which traced the source of evil and searched for the truth along a life journey, in which he found himself, a sinner of God” (Lam 3). Rousseau’s confessions portray a similar path of “self discovery in which he found himself a good man and the
The social contract in John Locke’s declaration is the State of Nature. The natural condition of mankind is a state of perfect and complete liberty to conduct one’s life as one best sees fit. Locke’s social contract is best described as freedom from the interference of others in one’s life. The State of Nature is pre-political, but it is not pre-moral by today’s standards. Another social contract from Locke is the Law of Nature. Locke’s view on this was that all decisions are based on morality. That it was God’s commands that they should
Rousseau, one of the most leading philosophers during the Enlightenment, had indeed left many of legendries behind. Not only his writings had caused many of the reactions at that time, but also influenced many writers’ aspects of the French Revolution and the overall understanding of inequality and the General Will. As one of the chief political theorists during the French Revolution who was also influenced by Rousseau’s ideas, Abbe Sieyes, published the pamphlet, “What is the Third Estate?” in 1789. This pamphlet was one of the documents that changed the world and lit the flame toward the French Revolution, as characterized by Joe Janes, a University of Washington professor (Janes). It derived many of its ideas from Rousseau’s “The Social
John Locke is a famous and influential 17th century English philosopher and political theorist who not only influenced and laid the ground work for the Enlightenment, but who also influenced the foundations of the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Being one of the authors of the Social Contract Theory, he paved the way for democracy, republicanism and liberalism. One of his most important and notable work’s to this day is the “Two Treatises of Civil Government,” which is the document in which the American founding fathers accredited their work to as they used his political theories to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
In this state of nature, money, trade, and regulations are absent. Man then mixes the labor from his body with the work of his hands and obtains private property ( Locke 7 sect. 27). This mix of labor with common resources created Locke’s theory of self-ownership. Locke uses the argument that taking resources out of their natural state, makes them no longer common, but private property (Locke 7 sect. 27). This argument can be read as meaning that natural resources have little or no value until mixed with labor and or consumed. However, this contradicts Locke’s ‘state of nature’, where men possess the freedom and right to their actions without the consent of others (Locke 2 sect.
In his Second Treatise of Government, Locke revealed his interests in new science, developing theories of education and knowledge (SMW, 34). One of the main points in his Treatise is that of the law of nature, where all men are in natural state of perfect freedom (SMW, 34). Locke argues, “Men being…by nature all free, equal, and independent,
Society has been struggling to find order ever since its conception. The idea that perfection could be achieved has long been dismissed, but societies still strive for something at least resembling functionality. Some of the fundamental problems faced within the genesis of a nation stem from the establishment of a government. How would one control and provide for the citizens in an effective way? Why would anyone willingly submit to governmental control? These are questions that Jean-Jacques Rousseau attempts to answer. In his “The Origins of Civil Society”, Rousseau presents his ideas on how the ideal society would run. He is able to effectively organize his thoughts in such a way that enables understanding and camaraderie with his audience, convincing them of the ways in which the quintessential society would function.
The state of nature is the state in which man first existed. The right to property consists of whether individuals have a defensible right to a certain form of property, whether it be wealth, objects, or land. Social inequality consists of inequality between citizens in political society resulting from differences in property. All references to inequality herein are to social inequality, not to any other type. Finally, for the purpose of brevity, all references to governments are references to governments formed by the consent of the governed unless separately denoted. Before commenting on Locke and Rousseau’s policies, one must examine their basis for property, inequality, and
Born on August 29, 1632, in Wrington, Somerset, England, John Locke is known as one of the most famous philosophers of the 17th century. He is often regarded as one of the greatest contributors to political theory, and was very influential in the areas of religious toleration, theology, and educational theory.
The state of nature is an idea used in political philosophy that was used by Enlightenment philosophers. It’s a representation of human nature without society. Locke believed that “Men living according to reason, without a common superior on earth, to judge between them, is properly the state of nature.” (Document 13) Hobbes said in The Leviathan humans were in a “state of war,” (Document 14) and that without an absolute ruler to control the people, they wouldn’t have peace.
In order to determine whose idea of government is to be agreed upon, the proper way is to take into consideration why there exist two completely different ideologies of government where both forms of government believe are born generally with good nature. Like stated above, Locke believes people are fitted with understanding ( Locke two treatises ex. 77) and are under the “ law of nature’ where no one would want to hurt anyone ( Locke two treatises ex.6) and similarly, Godwin believes that men are born naturally “benevolent to their fellows’. However, both of them agreed that there will be an irrational and a greedy side of humans. The difference in their ideologies is their perspective on human nature against time. Locke is firm on the idea of having a government because he sees no change in human nature and there will forever be a need for political authority to govern the people. On the contrary, Godwin believes that one day men will be able to be fully rational and there should be no political power or governments.
There are various theories across the spectrum of the social sciences that address the birth of society. The focus of this essay will be on two French sociologists, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Émile Durkheim who share different ideas of how the creation of society came about. Durkheim was a functionalist who has very fundamental views on the formation of society. Durkheim theorizes that society is natural and happens through shared experiences. He believes that society makes the individual “whole” by providing them with knowledge. However, on the other side of the spectrum is Rousseau, who views society as more of a means to an end. Rousseau theorizes that modern society is unnatural,
Rules and structure shape who we are, they allow us to channel and control our basic instinct in a way that lets society run smoothly without being subjected to great amounts of chaos. Without structure individuals can’t be trusted to put their selfishness within their human nature aside for the good of the society as a whole. I believe that humans initial instinct is masked by societal guidelines and without the pressure to follow these guidelines people would become absorbed with self-benefiting actions. If everyone is looking out for only themselves, no one is thinking about the bigger picture and how every person’s individual actions affect everything as a whole. History determines the future, and people’s actions in the past affect future
Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes, two titans of the Enlightenment, work within similar intellectual frameworks in their seminal writings. Hobbes, in Leviathan, postulates a “state of nature” before society developed, using it as a tool to analyze the emergence of governing institutions. Rousseau borrows this conceit in Discourse on Inequality, tracing the development of man from a primitive state to modern society. Hobbes contends that man is equal in conflict during the state of nature and then remains equal under government due to the ruler’s monopoly on authority. Rousseau, meanwhile, believes that man is equal in harmony in the state of nature and then unequal in developed society. Thus, both men would evaluate the statement that “in a legitimate state all men are free and there is no inequality,” differently. Rousseau would mostly disagree, holding that the state itself is the impetus for inequality. Hobbes would largely agree, contending that men are equal both in a primitive state of conflict and under a sovereign’s awesome power. These different responses result from the philosophers’ opposing views on fundamental human nature, civil society’s raison d’etre, and government’s inevitable form.