Thursday, November 4, 2010
Rousseau & Hobbes on Human Nature
"As for me, even if I am again to be regarded as wicked for daring to assert that man is born good, I think it and believe that I have proved it."
-Rousseau, p. 23, The Letter to M. D'Alembert on the Theatre (Spectacle)
Do you think this puts Rousseau in a fundamentally different camp from Hobbes? They take some very similar lines in interpreting the bible - both with regards to the existence of eternal punishment, and in freedom of thought. Both seem to bear a similar respect for Geometry. In fact, it seems clear to me that Rousseau read, and respected Hobbes. And yet, it seems that Hobbes would say man is born bad, while Rousseau would says man is born good.
Why do you think they disagree on this? Do you really think Hobbes would say man is born bad? Or would he say that man is born good, but the necessity of securing power creates a "madnesse in the multitude."