Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Different Views on Rosseau
(H1) After reading today’s assignment in The History of Western Philosophy, I had a very negative view of Rousseau. Shortly after that however I read The Philosophy of Walking assignment, giving me two completely different images of Rousseau. Russel makes the statement that Hitler is a consequence of the philosophy and writings of Rousseau, a harsher statement arguably could not be made. To say that Rousseau’s philosophy were clear in Hitler seems, to me, a bit extreme.
Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, may be an extremely pessimistic view of on the effect of science and the arts, but I do not find it to be so far from the truth. Another point where I find Rousseau more hopeful and truthful then other philosophers is his point of man in the state of nature. Russel says that according to Rousseau, so long as man is not hungry, he is at peace with all of the creatures of nature. This statement carries over to the ideas presented in the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. If it were not for man being hungry for status through the arts, sciences, and other socio-economic ideas, then mankind could maybe coexist peacefully and without war and the causing of other suffering.
In conclusion, while Rousseau may not have been the best friend to have, and he may have been subject to mania, but this does not diminish the brilliance nor the truth of his writings. Russel is a wonderful writer and probably the best source of Philosophical history, but sometimes his prejudices can cloud the judgement of the reader.