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Estole, Jay Juvah

Mathematics - I
Sibi, Juli Ann Rosette
BA Mass Communication - IV Yanez, Fritzy Jozhua
BA Mass Communication - IV


Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a prominent French philosopher and a political
theorist of the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason; his work inspired the leaders of the
French revolution and even foreshadowed the Romantic era.


Rousseau was born in Geneva on June 28, 1712. His Protestant ancestors of
French descent migrated to Geneva as religious refugees. His mother died a few days
after his birth, so his father, a watchmaker and a dance master, raised him. Although his
family was not said to be dirt poor, they hardly made enough money. As his father was
quite the quarrelsome man, it was said that Rousseau was not raised with proper
direction, and he ended up being raised by his uncle before he ran off to France when
he turned 16.
While in France, he was welcomed by his benefactress Baroness Louise de
Warens, of whom he had a relationship with despite their 12-year-gap. She managed to
convince him to convert to Christianity. The baroness also gave him the education that
turned him into a philosopher. In 1940, his relationship with the baroness ended, and he
left Chambery where they lived, for Paris.
In 1741, Rousseau was in Paris. It was also around this time that Rousseau
became friends with the philosophes who gathered at the Parisian salons, which were
the social centers of the 16th century. Through these philosophes, he was endorsed to
be the secretary to the French ambassador in Venice in 1743 and 1744, giving him a
background in public administration. However, after 11 months, Rousseau quit because
his employer paid his staff irregularly. From this experience, he grew a profound distrust
of government bureaucracy. He returned to Paris, where he became penniless, and
became the lover of Therese Levasseur, who bore him a son, and four more children (no
verification of number).
Come 1749, Rousseau won a best essay contest sponsored by the Academy of
Dijon. The question that was posed was whether the revival of activity in the sciences
and arts was contributing to moral purification. According to Tom Conoboy who does
philosophical analysis, Rousseau claimed that our souls have been corrupted in
proportion to the advancement of our sciences and arts toward perfection. His essay is
better known as the First Discourse, which is a Discourse on the Arts and Sciences,
and it shot Rousseau to popularity. At this time, he was also a strong collaborator for his
friend, Denis Diderots progressive enterprise, the Encyclopedie.
Rousseau soon returned to Geneva and completed his second major work, the
Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality. In his second Discourse, he said

that the privileged few gorge themselves with superfluities while the starving multitude
are in want of the bare necessities in life, which Ebbenstein believes is rooted from the
obvious inequalities that Rousseau saw in contemporary France, which was actually one
of the reasons why Rousseau left France and returned to his home, Geneva, with
Therese Levausseur. In this second Discourse, he basically discussed how people lost
their liberty to inequality, and continued to write The Social Contract, which discusses
how they might recover their liberty in the future through the social contract he proposes.
The social contract is an elaboration of an earlier Discourse which was a Discourse on
Political Economy featured in the Encyclopedie. In the Social Contract however, he
criticizes Genevas religion (Calvinism), which ostracized him from the Calvinist
community, eventually forcing him to return to France. He returned to writing for the
Encyclopedie and immersed himself in discussions with the philosophes. However, he
became ill in this worldly society soon enough, and he left Paris to live a life closer to
Despite being away, when his treatise Emile, or on Education, was published
Jansenists of the French Parlements felt scandalized by it, just as the Calvinists were
scandalized in Geneva by The Social Contract. His books were burned in both Paris and
Geneva, and a demand for his arrest came out. He formally renounced his Genevan
citizenship in 1763 and became a fugitive, spending the rest of his life moving from one
place to another. It was as a fugitive that he had written his autobiographical writing
Confessions, and other sentimental stories, including The New Eloise, Reveries of the
Solitary Walker among others, where he intended to justify himself against the
accusations against him.
Jean Jacques Rousseau died on July 2, 1778 at the age of 66 in Ermenonvile,
France. Despite his death, his works continued to live on and played an important role in
the period of the French Revolution, which were years of social and political upheaval in
France from 1789 to 1799. The French Revolution overthrew the French monarchy, and
triggered the fall of monarchy around the globe.



The Nature of the Primitive Man

Primitive man to Rousseau, was man in the state of nature. State of nature is
defined as the time before civil society; before any form of law or any semblance of
property was created. Primitive men were epitomes of pure ignorance: they had no
definition of right or wrong, virtuous or vicious, or even ideas of what was good or bad,
and operated on instinct.
Rousseau believes that primitive men were guided by two sentiments alone
self interest and pity for other people. By self-interest, Rousseau believes that men at
this time, prioritized self-preservation, a natural human instinct to survive. However, at
the same time, these primitive men were naturally empathetic and compassionate.

Compassion was instinct to them. This created an attribution to the idea of a noble
savage, however philosophers say that Rousseau never directly used the term.
Natural and Political Inequality
At the time of the state of nature, the only type of inequality that existed was
natural inequality. Rousseau defines natural inequality as differences in age, health,
bodily strength and qualities of the mind and soul. This inequality is normal, according to
Rousseau, as this allows people to live a simple and natural life, where the primary goal
is merely to survive and fulfill their needs.
However, the needs of humans changed as the population grew. In our
rationalization, primitive men reproduced and formed families, as breeding is often
referred to as a primal instinct. Naturally compassionate, they cared for their families and
these families grew in number until communities were formed. Soon enough, the
population grew to the point that it was hard for people to satisfy their needs. This is why
they began to compete for goods in their communities. This soon established the
concept of property which is a notion of saying this is mine, and this is not yours, and I
am the only one allowed to use it. Enough people believed those who claimed property,
because many were ignorant of the concept of property.
This race for goods and establishment of property bred a different kind of
inequality amongst menmoral or political inequality. Rousseau believes that this
inequality consists of privileges in wealth, honor, and power; concepts established only
when people have a notion of property already.
This notion of property is not an instinct and Rousseau believes this notion was
only created out of the race for needs; therefore this notion did not exist when men were
in the state of nature.
Property, to Rousseau, was the root of inequality because there was no proper
appropriation of it. In the first place, one man simply decided that this is mine, suddenly
with no regard for others. Rousseau had a general distaste for this man
This was also the beginning of the thinking man, where he grew less
compassionate, because he continued to seek for more, losing his natural instinct of
pity and compassion. Here, Rousseau likens the thinking man to a depraved animal;
because he always wants more and keeps it to himself.
The Origin of the Civil Society
The inequality that was bred in the creation of property grew in disparity. Those
who had property began gaining more property, and those who had none struggled to
survive. Man became less and less compassionate in this newborn society, and this
soon led to a horrible state of war.
However, this warring state endangered the property and needs among the rich
(people who have more property or have gained much property overtime), and they
needed constant peace in order to enjoy their powers and possessions. They needed to
eradicate the threat of constant war as not to endanger their lives as wellafter all, what
is the point of property if one is dead?

With this, the rich created their own parameters to maintain peace and order;
albeit the goal seemed noble as they wanted to achieve peace, the root cause for their
goal was least admirable, as all they really wanted was a way to secure their property.
The first step the rich took was to obtain an agreement among the rich
themselves, to set up a system of law and government for the maintenance of
peace. The second step was what Ebbenstein referred to as the profoundest plan that
ever entered the mind of manemploying the forces of the poor for the creation of
a government, under which the poor would be tasked to safeguard the
possessions of the rich. Rousseau said this bound new fetters on the poor, and
created new powers for the rich.
It was through these agreements that civil society was created, as natural
liberties were completely ripped away and civil liberties were instilled. However this civil
society was ridden with inequality because the rich created the laws; the few created the
laws for the many.

Types of Liberty
According to Rousseau, there are three types of liberty. These liberties are
natural, civil and moral liberties. These liberties are different from one another according
to the nature of the society they are living in.
Natural Liberty - one has the unlimited right to everything he puts his assertion
on, thus this libertys boundaries constantly shift; (not true liberty) enslavement to
uncontrolled appetite
In the state of nature, man has a natural liberty. In this state of liberty, man has all
the right to everything he puts his assertion on. The boundary of this liberty couldnt be
predicted as ones desires constantly change. According to Rousseau, this is not a true
liberty for man because he is enslaved to his uncontrolled appetite.
Civil Liberty - property rights in all he possesses; laws and rules of the political
community determine what each member may or may not do in relation to other
members. In civil society, civil liberty exists.
In the progressed civil society of man where he started to acquire property, he
also acquires civil liberty. This gives him property rights in all his possessions. However,
this time, he has given up his unlimited rights which he once had in the state of nature,
for a kind of liberty that has better foundation as people have laws and rules in the
community which determines what each member do in relation to other members.
Moral Liberty - rules and laws of a political community made by all members,
therefore we are obeying laws we made for ourselves, otherwise referred to as
self-imposed law; moral liberty is acquired only in civil society because it is only
by seeing disparity will we understand the importance of self-imposed laws.
When these rules and laws are curated by most, if not all, members of the
community, the members of the society reached the moral liberty. This is the true liberty,
according to Rousseau since he becomes a master of himself: he is guided by the rules

he has set for himself. For in obeying the laws we ourselves have made, we remain
These liberties progress from low to high. The very concept of civil society
requires laws. To have true freedom in civil society, is to have moral liberty, or laws that
are created by the members of the community.

Moral Liberty as The End of Civil Society

In the civil society, inequality is evident especially between the rich and the poor.
As mentioned, the rich created the laws that bound new fetters on the poor, to the point
of enslaving them. In order to eradicate this inequality, we must have moral liberty.
Moral liberty, as discussed earlier, is a freedom in which one follows rules passed
for all by all. This is what Rousseau believes, is true freedom.
Rousseau often refers to freedom on several aspects, but to him, true freedom
lies when you are neither enslaved by your instincts (as in natural liberty), nor by of other
people (as in civil liberty); true freedom can only be achieved when you are following
laws that everyone, including yourself, has mutually agreed upon, because in the end it
makes you free in relation to yourself, because you are following self-imposed law.
Therefore, moral liberty preserves true freedom, for the law in moral liberty, is made by
all for all.
For a society to have moral liberty, each and everyone must let their natural
liberty be alienated. By disregarding the natural liberty, the power of each person is
directed to a common interest. By this, everyone will agree unto what is best for
everyone. They will make laws and rules. By this time, moral liberty is achieved.
If moral liberty is created, civil society will end, for the determining factor of civil
society is when laws are created by the few for the many. With moral liberty, law is
coming fromh all, therefore civil society has ended. When civil society has ended and
moral liberty reigns, everyone will be standing in common grounds - no more rich nor
poor. Inequality will be eradicated.
The Social Contract (Sovereignty & The General Will)
In order to achieve the discussed moral liberty, Rousseau said that this is where
his social contract comes in. In summary, Rousseaus social contract involves every
individual, giving up their natural rights as independent humans to the people as a
whole, or something Rousseau refers to as the Sovereign.
The Sovereign, for Rousseau, is a supreme body that consists of all people,
acting collectively to rule over the state, which is the convention of people as individuals.
But why would one person want to give up his natural rights? Rousseau said that
because every man is born with self-interest and pity for others, he, naturally, would
develop an attachment or even love for the community he is in, and will always feel a
lingering responsibility as a citizen, or to what Rousseau refers to as political

obligation. This is what should motivate him to give up his natural rights to the
Sovereign willingly, although when one wishes to enter a community with this social
contract, he is actually required to give up those natural rights.
The Sovereign, being only a body, needs the rule of law in the state. The basis of
law that governs the state is what Rousseau refers to as the General Will. General will
is the will of the people that aims for the common good. The general will expresses what
is best for the state as a whole, and not a collection of wills by all individuals. Rousseau
clearly describes the differences between general will and the will of all.
The will of all is basically a compilation of individual wills, where separate
individual people who can be members of the Sovereign, push for their own interests as
a whole to the general public. Rousseau emphasizes that the general will on the other
hand is not this waythe general will is powered by the interest of the common good
and not of the good of separate individuals collected, because individual people
have their own biases and desires.
The Sovereign is inalienable and indivisible; it could not be given up, broken up
in any way, and/or shared to other person or body.
---clarify the role of general will in protecting the sovereignty; general will is what binds
the sovereignty
---explain more on who creates the general will
---limits of the sovereign power
Government: The Agent of General Will - Juv Estole
The state is the convention of people while sovereign is the collective power of
the people. The government secures the mutual correspondence between the state and
the sovereign, executes the laws, and maintains civil and political liberties. Therefore,
government is an intermediate body that binds both the State and the Sovereign.
Moral cause is the Will that determines the act. Physical cause is the power or
Force which executes the act. For example, when I go to a particular place, I should Will
first to go there and my feet will bring me there (Force). The body politic has the same
motive powers; Will determines the legislative power and Force determines the
executive power. Legislative power belongs to the Sovereign. The public force needs a
temporary agent who will bind it together and set it to work in accordance to the General
Will. This agent will serve as a bridge between the State and the Sovereign. Here is the
basis why the government was made.
The members of the government are called the magistrates or kings, or in other
words the governors and the whole body is called the prince. Government, or the
supreme administration, is a manifestation of the legitimate exercise of the executive
power. They are the ones who ensure that laws made by the people is followed by the
people but the government has nothing to do with law-making. Rousseau attempted to
synthesize good governance to self-governance in the key concept of the General Will

and the realization that what is best for the community is not enough; it should be
WILLED by the community.
Rousseau pointed out that political theorists often mix up the ideas of force and
will or the executive and legislative powers. To clear the confusion, Rousseau distinctly
separates the sovereignty and government. Sovereignty is the collective will of the whole
body of people of the state. Government, on the other hand, is just a temporary agent of
the sovereign. Both the sovereign and the government have their respective powers in
the state. The legislative power belongs to the sovereign. People make their own laws
for themselves that would adhere to the social contract. The people have the ultimate
right to govern themselves.
The judicial and the executive power is given to the government because it
consists wholly of particular acts which falls outside the competency of the law. As
stated, the goal of the general will constitutes the law of the civil society as it is directed
for the common good.
There must be a will and a force for every action produced. The will is in the form
of the sovereign and the force as the government. For the will of the sovereign to be a
reality, a government is needed for execution.
The Rights and Obligations of Citizens -- Fritzy Yaez
The general will is constructed by people. Thus, they must abide by it as citizens
for they have consciously have given their contribution in the formation of the general will
and the social contract. Although the social contract is formed by rules and laws man
declared for himself, he shall then remain free.
In the argument presented by Rousseau in his chapter on Slavery, all men are
granted freedom under the social contract. Hence, no one can rule over another or be
ruled over. Moreover, everyone can prescribe what everyone should do but no has the
right to demand that another person shall do what he/she does not do himself. This is
against the general idea of the general will and being under a consensus. By the social
contract, all citizens are equal.
When a civil society is being set up, citizens can withdraw their rights and
obligations by leaving the society as an emigrant or staying as a foreigner among



Table 1 below aptly illustrates the main differences between the arguments proposed by
three contemporary political theoristsThomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacques
Nature of

Accdg. to Hobbes
Naturally bad
Governed by his

Accdg. to Locke
Naturally good
Governed by his

Accdg. to Rousseau
Naturally ignorant
Man is ignorant, he has

instincts, which are

bad, and self


no sense of what is right

and wrong. He is guided
by self interest and pity.

The Social

Giving up all your

rights, and giving it to
the leviathan

Giving up all your rights

except natural rights of
life, liberty and property.

Giving up all your rights

to the people as a whole
( the sovereign)


Absolute Monarchy

No particular government

Extreme Democracy

The leviathan cannot

be defeated or be
removed from his
position even if this
leviathan is doing
something bad
The government is
above the people

The governments
(trustee) power, through
fiduciary trust, aims to
protect the natural rights
of the people (trustors)
The government is above
the people

The government is the

executor, and the judge,
but they have no power
of legislation or creation
and passing of laws.
The government is
below the sovereign
(who are the people)

On the Nature of Man

Man has always been in pursuit for the mysteries of our universe. We have
reached the moon, planets and even stars to find clues and, ultimately the truth. Most
men dont realize the greatest mystery we have yet to fully uncoverourselves. Hobbes,
Locke and Rousseau are brave men to try to understand and put into words the true
nature of man.
The mind is too complex to put a single definition on what is its true nature. Years
of modern psychology havent really proven the universal behavior of man. There are
theories that tries to understand behavior but none that encompasses the entirety of a
human being.
People would generally accept the ideas of Hobbes, Locke Rousseau because
people are free to produce and accept knowledge. The very fact that these ideas are
based on their own understanding (of men and society) should be the reason why
people need to be critical and analyse these ideas. It is true that men are either/entirely
innately selfish, good, driven by their instincts, and/or compassionate. The philosophers
suggested that these natures of men are sometimes given up or set aside to form their
government and society but even in an advanced state of society, we still see people
who are selfish and driven by instincts even if their situation doesnt call for them to act
in the true nature of man.
Complexity of the mind added with the wide spectrum of the kind of people that
live in different societies: it is difficult to put into one basket of definition the true nature of
man. There is no proof as to how these men Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau came
up with their idea of the primitive man. It could be argued that they may have produced
their idea of a primitive man to fit their general idea of the government and society
(which are understandably composed of and by men).

On the Social Contract

On Government