Analyse The Relationship Between Rousseau And Freedom

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How does Rousseau conceive the relationship between democracy and freedom? What are the main merits of and problems with his approach?

Although the Social Contract promises freedom to the members of the state this freedom does not automatically include democracy. Democracy is suggested as a possible form of government alongside aristocracy and monarchy whereas today it is arguable that democracy is seen as the only form which denotes a free people. Freedom could well be defined as "having a say in political decision making" but Rousseau 's idea of freedom is from one 's own natural desires so it is possible to be a good citizen and lead a more fulfilling life. Rousseau does not believe that man naturally knows what is best for him "the public must be taught to recognise what it desires". He goes further to state that there is right way for society to be run and that this is the "general will", the right course of action which the …show more content…

In the Social Contract the supreme ruler of the state is the sovereign which is all of the people collectively. The sovereign rules as according to the general will. If this was taken to mean, what most of the people chose then democracy would be indeed necessary however the concept requires what is best for the people as a whole to take place. It could be different from the will of all as a collection of personal preferences if the majority preference was not seen as in the best interests of the state. Rousseau suggests that this would occur if each person did not consider their own personal preference but what would be best for everyone. Condorcet praised this system as he calculated that if each person had a better than even chance of knowing the general will then it would emerge every time. This however is a huge assumption and there is also the question of whether a general will exists at all. There is not necessarily one single solution which best fits society as a

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