Monday, 20 September 2010

State of Nature

Was there ever a state of nature? I am reading An Introduction to Political Philosophy pages 6-8.

Rousseau & Locke: the state of nature ¹ a state of war. But they give different answers as to why.

Locke: b/c people are moved to a significant extent by an innate knowledge of right and wrong.

Rousseau: (1) b/c savages are solitary and their desires are simple (only food, sex, and sleep); and (2) b/c savages are moved to a significant extent by natural compassion.

Rousseau: Locke and Hobbes wrongly equip people in the state of nature with traits that arise only in society:

· contra Locke, savages have no sense of morality

· contra Hobbes, savages have no greed or vanity

So Rousseau’s state of nature is peaceful and free of vice. But Rousseau’s savages seem more like brute animals than humans.

If humans could find themselves in a world without a state what would that state be like?

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