How Rousseau Differs
Reading Rousseau after both Locke and Hobbs, I have realized there’s a major difference between them. Rousseau clerly points out the difference between society and nature. According to Rousseau, people enter into civil soceity by contract. Without the agreement of following the rules of the soceity, one is in nature. When Rousseau revealed his views on nature, he brought up the argument that when there’s no language for people to communicate in, then there is no reason. There is only instinct. One cannot think without language. And in the natrual enviroment, people are similar to animals. Their only needs are food, shelter and production. Society’s main concern, property, is not considered as a need in nature. Rousseau argues that when man developed language, the inheirent inequality is also revealed. Once thoughts were developed through language, man aquire statuses, and this enhances the development of inferior and superior social standings. This is different from Hobbs because he mainly focuse on the subject of obeying the sovereign. In Hobbs’s texts, he portrays that there’s one absolute soveriegn that controls all people. This diminishes conflicts and arguments. Locke, on the other hand, mainly describes the set ups of the goverenment. He focuses on the balance and functions of and executive and legislative. However, in Discourse on Equality, Rousseau distinguishes the difference between nature, where people merely follow their instincts without thinking, and civil soceity, where people give up on the rights of doing whatever they please and follow certain guidelines set up by the government. This is the only way a government can function. Furthermore, Rousseau exposes that the key distinction betwen animals and human is that human want to perfect ourselves. Without thoughts and language, animals cannot think about competition with one another, while this is always on the human’s concious. We tend to think about financial survival and social standing everyday through out lives while animals do not. This is all due to the development of the human conciousness. After reading Rousseau, I realized he brought up a topic that was not discussed by others, and this topic has shaped our way of interpreting previous readings.