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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Philosophy 4 - 929 words
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau had a theory of human nature that differed fromall others. The way we started, grew as a society, and live now, are totallydifferent than what we have already learned this semester. He thought of whatis called a Social Contract Theory. This theory will be discussed in this paper,especially in the aspects of personal freedom, the role of the intellect, humansocial and/or spiritual relations, and the nature of the self. How much personal freedom does a person have? Well, Rousseau wouldsay that humans do have personal freedom, but that freedom is hard to keep.
Hewould say that, 'Humans are born free, and everywhere they are inchains.';(notes 11/4/99) To some, this would be hard to grasp at first. To put it simply, we, as humans, are not living the ways that we are supposed to. Somewhere along the line we got off on a tangent with our development thatchanged how we are supposed to live. Everything around us is a burden. Rousseau then discusses what the original way of living is. He would say that there is an inequality in how we live, because we are born free and that is taken away from us
The chains that led from the inequality are subjugation, dominance, and oppression. These chains are artificial, because we are born free. Humans acquired the chains, Rousseau would argue. He will go on to say that because humans began to rationalize these chains were caused. Thinking rationally creates generalities , and along with the generalities comes labeling people.
We began to use reason to get things that we would call our own possessions. Having possessions and property are caused by rational thinking, and those generalities create inequalities, because there are the rich, who have all the possessions, and the poor, who have none, but want the rich peoples' things. If nobody was using reason, there would be no disputes about personal items, because nothing would belong to anyone. In other words, humans use reason all the time. Today, we thinkrationally. Even though Rousseau believes that this is not the way to live, headmits that it does exist.
Our personal freedom is driven on pride now. However, the way to correct things is not to go back to how things were, but toinstead transform into a new kind of people. We need to make progress, andchoose to make that progress. He feels that we need to stop the impersonalizing. Rousseau also believes that the role of intellect is played off by theinstincts of a person.
In the beginning, humans were not rational. They thought in the particulars of life. They saw a tree and thought of it as a tree. They didn't see a tree and think, 'This is my tree.'; Through instincts, a human would go and kill an animal to eat, not order from a drive through. They took care of things themselves. Intellect in this sense would tell a person to go and eat.
It would also have the program in its brain to know how to hunt and fish. The person did it all on his or her own. Rousseau says that, ' An animal cannot deviate from the rule that isprescribed to it, even when it would be advantageous to do so, while mandeviates from it, often to his own detriment.';(Rousseau 25) What he is saying is that humans have free will. They choose things. He gives the example in thetext of a bird who will starve if meat is available because it is not capable oftrying it.
Humans pick what they want to eat, he is saying. Since we haveintellect, we can pick and choose what we want, but before reason, we operatedmostly on instinct. Rousseau discusses human relations to a great extent in this text. In the beginning, before reason, humans saw each other and did not excessively gather together. The only time that a man and woman would reproduce, would be for a purely sexual purpose.
There is no attachment to the other person. The only thing that is present is a biological fulfillment in sex. To continue this argument, Rousseau could say that humans are nonsocialpeople. There is no need for a person to interact with another, because they can survive alone. It would be unnatural for humans to live together.
If such a thing in a society would exist, which they do, humans would be living in a'degenerative state.';(notes 11/4/99) Rousseau can go on to argue that this degenerative state is caused byreason, property, and government. Human relations occur because of thesethings. Marriage, for example, is not a natural thing. There is no excuse for a man and woman to spend the rest of their lives together, because that is not abiological need. The only need in that case is sex, and sometimes a baby is theresult of sex.
In summation, Rousseau will say that humans should not begetting married, to share all of their property, which is theirs by reason, so they can live happily ever after under a government that wants to take it from them. The final article discussed is the nature of the self. He calls this 'The Book of Nature.';(notes 11/4/99) Biologically, humans are well-adapted and fit, capable of doing things on their own. Humans are, 'robust, agile andcourageous,';(Rousseau 20) and also the, 'most advantalogiacally organized.';(Rousseau 19). What he is saying is that humans are healthy.
The self isindividually satisfied, reliable and sufficient. The natural condition of the self is free and self-sufficient, where all needs are met.'The Savage Knows Himself Best';.
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