return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19770

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / b. Retribution for crime]

Full Idea

More primitive men regarded the acts of violence that could befall them as an easily redressed evil and not as an offence that must be punished; they did not even dream of vengeance, except as a knee-jerk response.

Gist of Idea

Primitive people simply redressed the evil caused by violence, without thought of punishing


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Part I)

A Reaction

This may be Rousseau at his most optimistic, trying to deny a rather more aggressive streak in people, seen in children's playgrounds.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.55