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Single Idea 19812

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / c. A unified people]

Full Idea

The establisher of a people is in a position to change human nature, to transform each individual into a part of a larger whole from which the individual receives his life and being, to substitute a partial and moral existence for natural independence.

Gist of Idea

Human nature changes among a people, into a moral and partial existence


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], II.07)

A Reaction

The 'partial' part is obvious, in the compromises of society, but he says we only become moral in a people, and even more so when that people constitute a state. In the state of nature, morality seems to be unneeded, rather than absent.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.163