`` Gentle Savages And Fierce Citizens Against Civilization `` : Unraveling Rousseau 's Paradoxes

1754 Words Apr 7th, 2016 null Page
In his article, “Gentle Savages and Fierce Citizens against Civilization: Unraveling Rousseau’s Paradoxes,” author Matthew Mendham further explores Shklar’s work by creating the “Shklarian Model” which is simply split between what is best for a man and what is best for a citizen as being distinct ideals (172). Mendham further elaborates on this argument by explaining the position of Leo Strauss, who argued that Rousseau’s political solution “ought to be read as merely intended for modern consumption” since it is impossible for humans to ever truly return to the ideal solitude and naturalness of the original state of human nature (172). In fact, in his Confessions Rousseau posited that “he alone has maintained the soul of original, natural humanity, and that his natural goodness has been expressed in his deeper, abstract preferences even when social pressures led him to betrayal or abandonment” (Mendham 175). His contemporary, Scottish philosopher David Hume, echoed this sentiment in a letter to John Home of Hinewells in 1766, when he wrote that “When in it (society), he (Rousseau) is commonly very amiable, but often very unhappy. And though he be also unhappy in solitude, he prefers that species of suffering to the other” (Ritter and Bondanella 197).
Perhaps in his paradoxes regarding human nature, Rousseau was simply alluding to the complexities of humanity and the fact that whether the political or natural way of life is best depends on the circumstances of the person,…

Related Documents