How is human nature characterized by Jean Jacques Rousseau?

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Indeed, Rousseau views the social interactions of individuals as the root of all that is wrong and the elements that corrupt individuals.  When individuals are born free in the state of nature, they possess a sense of self love which is pure and an authentic expression of one's existence in...

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Indeed, Rousseau views the social interactions of individuals as the root of all that is wrong and the elements that corrupt individuals.  When individuals are born free in the state of nature, they possess a sense of self love which is pure and an authentic expression of one's existence in the world.  This form of expression called amour propre is when individuals hold a sense of harmony about themselves and the world around them.  As they become more integrated with social settings, Rousseau argues that this is where the more unhealthy of self love happens.  This form of self love allows individuals to begin to view themselves through the eyes of others, causing a sense of self love that is predicated upon on possession and control.  This idea of self love is called amour de soi, and when this happens within individuals, there can be little in the way of cooperation as there is competition and antagonism between one another.

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To Rousseau, human nature is basically good.  One of his more famous sayings is "man is born free and everywhere he is in chains."

When he says this, Rousseau is arguing that people were actually good in the state of nature.  This is very much in contrast with Hobbes, who says that people are naturally brutal.

To Rousseau, it is only society that has made people selfish.  In the state of nature, people pretty much lived in harmony with one another and with nature.  But later on, they came into societies and that's what caused problems.

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