Locke And Rousseau's Definition Of Nature

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Natural Humans The human condition is a subjective term used to encompass the things that differentiate humans from animals. Through the philosophy of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, their beliefs of what is natural shapes their insight into the human condition. Locke believes that nature is governed by a general law of reason and that people are free, equal, and independent in this life. Whereas Rousseau believes that a hypothetical nature is ideal yet humans are corrupted through the formation of societies. This basis in the belief of nature shapes Locke’s and Rousseau’s beliefs regarding learning, dependency, social interaction, and living when exploring the human condition. Locke and Rousseau’s definition of nature influences their…show more content…
They both advocate that humans should live according to what they believe is natural. Locke once again advocates for organized government and goes on to develop this in saying, “The first and fundamental natural law is to govern even the legislative itself, is the preservation of the society and, as far as will agree with the public good of every person in it.” (Locke, Of Civil Government, in CWT, 77). The content provided here from Locke’s Of Civil Government serves to prioritize the good of the people, and support a legislative system that represents his beliefs in what is natural. This system is created for the people and it supports independence, private property, and other key tenants of his philosophy. Rousseau advocates for a much simpler system of living reliant only upon land and the resources nature provides: “As long as men were content with their rustic huts, as long as they confined themselves to sewing their garments of skin with thorns or fish bones…so long as they applied themselves only to work that one person could accomplish alone… they lived as free, healthy, good and happy men…”(Rousseau, On the Origin of Inequality among Men, in CWT, 139). This quote explains a society in which Rousseau has based his belief in what is natural. The idea of a simple rustic house and the use of thorns and fish bone as tools to create one’s own necessities, creates a pleasant picture of a more natural life. Rousseau even refers to a quote from Locke which reads, “according to the wise Locke: ‘Where there is no property, there is no injury.’”(Rousseau, Inequality, in CWT, 139). This quote is important because it shows that Locke and Rousseau are not completely opposed. In fact, Rousseau uses Locke’s words to help support his own ideas. Ultimately, they both recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the human condition, yet their
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