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Word Count: 956
Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his essay concerning the origins of the inequality of man has a view of natural man and civil man that is markedly different than previous thinkers like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke Rousseau sees natural man as free self-sufficient and compassionate while Hobbes and Locke see man as mostly self-interested This understanding of natural man is integral to Rousseaus view of civil society Hobbes states that the life of man in nature is nasty brutish and short Rousseau clearly sees the opposite as his natural man has an excellent life Unlike Hobbess natural man Rousseaus natural man is not in constant fear of the things around him though he can certainly still be fearful of animals and other men because he is strong and able to protect himself from the dangers of nature Rousseaus natural man is made as tough as the creatures of the wilderness because he is fully exposed to the harshness of nature So in this state all men are equally free the only inequality is physical In reality natural man is just another animal the only thing that distinguishes him is that he is able to think rationally Natural man is able to act freely and able also to vary his actions according to the situation This capacity for change is what will set man apart from other animals Rousseau agrees with Hobbes that man is not naturally sociable preferring a more solitary existence but Rousseau sees man as naturally peaceful and compassionate rather than war-like Rousseau forms this argument out of his belief that many naturally possess pity and a desire for self-preservation interestingly Hobbes also says his man desires self-preservation yet he is pre-disposed to war Many would see Rousseau as presenting us with a noble savage image While he certainly comes close that is not the case Natural man for Rousseau is very much like an animal so his interests are only what he needs
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