Rousseau’s Philosophical Ideas
Hobbes, on the other hand, sees man as fearless and bent on attacking and fighting every chance he gets. Conditions have not really changed since then.The contemporary man is a hybrid of man from the eyes of Rousseau and Hobbes. The arms race, the never-ending struggle for supremacy in arms and military power, is an overwhelming testimony that even the modern man is in a constant state of fear – of conquest, of slavery, of tyrants. This is why man has not stopped arming himself, to the extent of covertly stocking nuclear weaponry. At the same time, Hobbes’ model of a fearless man comes to the fore whenever man’s independence is threatened as the contemporary man sheds off his fear in defense of liberty, justice, and equality. Rousseau (1754) recognized the superiority of man among other animals in terms of the quality of his intellect. Supplementing this natural mental power is man’s possession a free will, which distinguishes him apart from other animals. With this free will, man chooses or refuses and may deviate from a particular rule prescribed if it will mean self-preservation, an advantage, or a chance for self-improvement. On the other hand, the rest of the animals either accept or refuse a situation by instinct.Rousseau was totally in disagreement with some of Hobbes’ propositions that : (1) man does not know better because he is wicked. and (2) a bad man is a robust child. Robust is this context may be taken as strong. For Hobbes’ first proposition, Rousseau (2005) would have welcomed a restatement from Hobbes that: the state of nature … which the care of our own self-preservation is the least prejudicial to that of others … was the best … to promote world peace, and the most suitable for mankind … (Rousseau, 2005 p.49)Meanwhile, for the second proposition, Rousseau challenged Hobbes for the burden of proof about the strong man being a bad man. In both respects, Rousseau’s arguments seem to be more plausible.