Influence Of Rousseau On General Will

Good Essays
According to Rousseau, the general will is a collectively held will that aims at common good or common interest. People sharing common interest will make a better community, state and nation. He argues that by giving up individual rights and interests, people will comply with the general will. In addition, Rousseau says, that people should build a community to which they completely devote or surrender themselves “What these different interests have in common is what forms the social bond, and if there were not some point on which all interests agree, no society could exist.” (p 57).
He says that general will demands obedience of everyone. Each individual is totally dependent on each other for all aspects of their lives and no one can do anything without the agreement of everyone.
In short, Rousseau stresses that general will is the supreme good and just for all. In such state, people are incapable of making mistakes and would not violate any laws. “each of us put his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and in our corporate capacity we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole”(p.392).
…show more content…
In order to have a peaceful, and prosperous society or community, the laws of that society should be based on the interests and will of the majority of the citizens. His idea of general will is very similar to the ideology of democracy, where every individual interests are considered and the interests of majority rules. However I also believe that the idea of general will, would not be established in today’s world because each individual in each country around the world has different interests and it will very difficult nowadays to live within a society which shares a general will because in Rousseau’s general will, all the power, rights and interests of each individual are controlled and directed by community

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Although these two sound similar, they are much different. The “general will” is Rousseau’s idea of how society should function. He theorizes that the “general will” is the community as a whole, that people would surrender their rights to; Rousseau expects that the people will obey it blindly. The purpose of the “general will” is to protect what is good for the whole of society and to perfect the idea of freedom in the state of nature. Even though that sounds similar to the majority, the two are not the same; however, the “general will” should reflect the majority in practice.…

    • 711 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The purpose of law for Rousseau is to communicate the general will of the people. The general will of the people puts the common interest of all involved at the forefront. Whereas in the state of nature there was a sense of inequality, once the social contract is in effect there is equality as everyone is needed for the common good to take place. In order for these laws to be enacted the majority must agree to give up their individual rights for the protection of all. The sovereign hopes to serve the common good while putting private interest last.…

    • 2006 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The social contract, which is agreed upon by the majority of the citizens is based on the general will of the people, that aims for the common good of each individual in the state. It aims at structuring the state, so that people can live in a civilized society as well as pleasing each individual. However it also intends to create rules and laws, which construct a safe and secure environment for the citizens of the said state. Thus it is based on laws rather than power. Being a part of this contract one has to give up ‘the physical freedom’ that is to do any thing one pleases to do, yet one gains the ‘civil freedom’ of acting rationally and morally.…

    • 859 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Now, if this form of governance would actually work in today’s society, I feel I would support it. Unfortunately, I see too many disadvantages in Rousseau’s vision of a legitimate government, not enabling me to support this form of governance in today’s society. For starters, in order for the general will to work, everyone must exchange their individual interests for the groups interest. The participants of The Social Contract, must give up their personal beliefs and put the group’s needs first. Rousseau states that “each one of us puts into the community his person and all his powers under the supreme direction of the general will; and as a body, we incorporate every member as an indivisible part of the whole”(61) he believes that when people exchange their liberties, they become apart of the general will and they act as a whole.…

    • 1580 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The law put forth from the government should be a reflection of the general will of the community. In order to guarantee the loyalty of its members, the law should also appropriately protect the individual freedom of its people. In regards to Mill, it appears that he somewhat agrees with Rousseau’s argument of the function of government. Mill argues for a representative democracy that would facilitate the development and evolution of liberty for its members. He believed that a representative democracy would only represent the interests of its people and would therefore lessen the resistance between the ruler and its people.…

    • 1838 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Hobbes Vs Rousseau Essay

    • 858 Words
    • 4 Pages

    If someone disobeys the law it is best solved by the popular opinion and believes in the direct interaction of the people with the laws they must obey. Rousseau uses collectivism as a way for people to actively present their own views while also using This collectivism is best exemplified in his definition of the “general will”. He calls for all members of society to subordinate their own will for the general goal set forth by society. Rousseau does not believe that surrendering freedom to a leader provides any benefit and encourages intervention by the individual on a political level. With Rousseau believes that these goals can only be realized with the assumption of a great leader into the seat of power.…

    • 858 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He also reckons we need freedom to create an enlightened society and achieve happiness. However, how difficult is it to uphold the moral law? To answer this question from a Kantian point of view, any action performed must be done from a duty to the highest moral law in order to have any moral worth. What determines whether an action has moral worth or not is the maxim. Freedom ends when your choices begin to affect other people and morality is universal.…

    • 1793 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Rousseau's Social Contract

    • 1140 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Rousseau believes that, in order to achieve such, unity of the people must be of complete whole, and that all must comply with the social contract. Mill, on the other hand may argue in advantage to the individual or particular will (the good of the individual), that not all in society will conform to the social contract, and would prefer their private interests and individuality instead of the public good. Therefore, proposing individualism as a threat to Rousseau’s social contract in regards to “the problem to find form of association”. Rousseau agrees coherently with Mill’s supposition that individuals within society may have conflicting views from that of the whole. He consequently does not accept that privatised interests (particular will) of the individual needs any sort of acknowledgment.…

    • 1140 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The society has to find ways to keep their freedoms while also becoming a community to protect their freedoms. Rousseau’s idea was to create a true democracy in which the rules and regulations of the society were chose by the majority and general will of the people. Those who disagreed were forced to follow the general will and if they did not want to they could leave the state. The government would be “entrusted with administering the general will” of the public in order to keep everyone on the same page (Costly). He favored a direct democracy where the people would be heard directly by the government instead of through elected officials.…

    • 1276 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In Rousseau’s Books 1 and 2, he justifies that sovereignty should be in the hands of the people. Although Hobbes and Rousseau share some similar philosophies regarding the social contract, through further analysis it will become clear that their attitude, beliefs, and interpretations of the topic differ tremendously. To begin, Hobbes had a very pessimistic view on society and believed that government was necessary to protect the people from each other. In Leviathan, Hobbes stated, “The only way to erect such a common…

    • 1083 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays