The Social Contract

rousseau versus hobbes

in what ways does The Social Contract contradict Hobbes' ideas of man in the primitive "state of nature"?

Asked by
Last updated by llg j #367080
Answers 2
Add Yours

In many ways, Rousseau's social contract is a sort of opposite to Hobbes' "state of nature." At the most basic level, Hobbes argues that man is born into a visceral chaos of his own body. It is therefore necessary to provide a strong sense of order in the world via a centralized government. Rousseau, on the other hand, argues that man is born free, but chained by the social apparatus around him. It is therefore necessary to implement radical democracy.


1. What is the natural condition of all mature human beings? What is the role of the family? How is the family related to political society?

2. What position does Rousseau take on the claim that "might makes right"? What reasons does he give in support of his position?

3. What are the fundamental problem facing individuals when confronted by the need to form a governing association? What must they achieve, according to Rousseau? How is this done? What is lost and what is gained in the process?

4. What problem or tension arises with respect to the individual and the general will? What is the solution?

5. What is given up in the social contract and what is gained in exchange for each of the things given up?

6. is the difference between "the general will" and "the will of all"? Why is the will of all fallible