What Is Rousseau's Theory Of Individualism

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Developed in historical circumstances of chaotic and dramatic social and change of the Glorious Revolution in England and French Revolutionary thought , the ideas of Locke and Rousseau demonstrate profoundly the Enlightenment notion of individualism - self-reliant belief in the sanctity of human independence. Assumed natural rights - those inherent from birth as a consequence of a natural evolutionary and mental superiority are demonstrative of both the society to which they are related, and the development of political society. Rousseau and Locke therefore follow a logical progression of complexity, beginning with the necessity of civil society to protect the inherent individual rights threatened by pre-societal chaos, highlighting the necessity …show more content…
The conception of collective rights is a fundamental cornerstone to the political philosophy of both Locke and Rousseau, manifested as either “public good” (Locke) or “ the general will.” (Rousseau) Common to both authors is the assumption of the supremacy of the collective whole in terms of moral behaviour. A member of society has the right to freedoms so far as they are not contradictory to the will of the collective as as a whole, which is presumed to exist for the purposes of preserving that society. In realistic terms, this idea is not so easily perpetrated due to subjective discrepancies in religious, cultural and political understandings of the general good. Codified morals homogenous to a population, in particular those related to the preservation of society, are uncommon, if existent at all. Rousseau’s primary defence of civility highlights a defence of freedom, stating that the freedom inherent in the state of nature is confirmed to physical and that true liberty is developed only by in “natural qualities put in motion.…and these were the only qualities which could command respect.” (Rousseau,122) Contrarily Locke instead cites property, stating it as “the reason men enter into society is the preservation of their property” (Locke, 197). The right to property is derived from the individual right to their own body. When physical labour is applied to an object around them, it is assumed as their possession. Each person has an equal right to take what does not belong to another, as far as they can reasonably used to the advantage of the individual and thus, society as a whole. It is here that Locke’s argument finds its fundamental flaw. The society created by Locke’s sanctity of property will ultimately be one of class, as personal advantage and societal advancement are ultimately subjective concepts. This

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