Rousseau's State Of Nature And Freedom
This section focuses on Rousseau’s ideas of the state of nature and freedom.
Rousseau argued that human beings are ‘born free’ meaning that they are morally autonomous agents. In regimes of private property, they became un-free as the imperatives of rational accumulation increasingly governed what they did (Levine, 2002). He began his exploration into the human condition with the isolated individual in the state of nature. However, he believed that they could be a difficulty in using the idea of a state of nature because those who employ it project characteristics found only in society upon men in their original condition. As a result of this, the state of nature was simply a hypothesis to him. He went ahead to dismiss Hobbes idea that men were self-seeking and competitive by nature and in the absence of goodness in the state of nature men are naturally evil. Rousseau notes that one of the main problems humans face is that although they want to be free, they also want the advantages of living in society because it is only as a citizen that man can fulfil