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The Opinion of MankindSociability and the Theory of the State from Hobbes to Smith$
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Paul Sagar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691178882

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691178882.001.0001

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Rousseau’s Return to Hobbes

Rousseau’s Return to Hobbes

(p.139) Chapter Four Rousseau’s Return to Hobbes
The Opinion of Mankind

Paul Sagar

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the issue of sociability and the theory of the state with regard to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. More specifically, it considers Rousseau's intervention in the debate over human sociability, mainly in The Discourse on Inequality, and how it ultimately led in the opposite direction to that pointed out by David Hume: back to Thomas Hobbes. The chapter begins with a discussion of Rousseau's idea of the state of nature as well as the views of Rousseau and Hume on pity, justice, property, and deception. It then analyzes Rousseau's The Social Contract, an exercise in full-blooded Hobbesian sovereignty theory, and his attempt to start from a different place in the theory of sociability, and then offer a purposefully counter-Hobbesian theory of sovereignty. The chapter argues that Rousseau ultimately could not get past Hobbes, and ended up returning to the latter's positions.

Keywords:   sociability, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Thomas Hobbes, state of nature, pity, justice, property, sovereignty, The Social Contract

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