Rousseau and Human Nature

rousseau philosophy

Rousseau: A Philosophy of Nature

The Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a huge moral and political edifice. From Emile to the Social Contract, Rousseau presents his vision of humanity as it should be.

Rousseau has a deep dislike and disgust for the man as he is. His philosophy is essentially reactive, reactionary against the society and the modernity.

In the Discorse on the origin of inequality among men, Rousseau develops an extended metaphor about the state of nature, that is to say the pre-civilizational state. He describes this period of humanity as the happiest of humanity.  In state of nature, man is self-sufficient and cultivates his plot of land freely. Man is stupid, strong, candid, natural being. He knows neither good nor evil and lives in the present, worry-free about tomorrow. Cons Hobbes, who described the state of nature as a state of war, Rousseau makes the pre-civilizational state a time of peace and defending the myth of the noble savage, pure face thaht the civilized man corrupted.

But one day he finds someone to assert his right to a cultivable land: Property is born, and with it the downfall of humanity. The advent of the property creates inequality and a new competition between men. Civil society is established, the man driving his innocence.

Rousseau is illustrated by a deep pessimism about the history of civilization in general and in particular, and rather smug optimism about human nature.

I wish that companies should choose such a young man, he thought well of those who live with him and that he should learn to know the world so well, he thought of all that bad done there. He knows that man is naturally good, he feels, he considers his next of itself, but he sees how society corrupts and perverts the men he finds in their prejudice the source of all their vices, that he be brought to estimate each individual, but he despises the multitude he sees that all men are roughly the same mask, but he also knows that there are more beautiful than the face mask that covers


Cite this article as: Tim, "Rousseau and Human Nature, April 24, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 24, 2012,

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