In What Way, According to Rousseau, is Humanity Perverse?

 In What Way, According to Rousseau, is Humanity Perverse? Essay example
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In what way, according to Rousseau, is humanity perverse? Is this alleged perversity inconsistent with Kant’s celebration of enlightenment? Introduction The history of intellectual thought and philosophy is a history of the investigation into human progress.


Two of the most seminal thinkers in these regards are Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. For Rousseau, despite intellectual progress, humanity is perverse. This essay considers Rousseau’s perspective on humanity and evaluates the extent that it is inconsistent with Kant’s celebration of the Enlightenment. Analysis One of Rousseau’s most pervasive modes of inquiry emerges from the distinction he makes between the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance. For Rousseau, this distinction functions as a means of establishing divergent patterns of human thought and character, with the Middle Ages functioning as a precursor to Enlightenment modes of understanding. The distinction is an important one, as Rousseau recognizes that in the shift from Medieval Age perspectives to Enlightenment thought is a corresponding shift in human manners and interaction. While Rousseau recognizes human interaction has improved, he continues to question the extent that human mores have correspondingly progressed. For Rousseau, the shift from Medieval Age to Enlightenment thinking, while beneficial to some degree, has correspondingly resulted in a perversion of humanity. Rousseau notes that “the men who make up this herd we call society will, if placed in the same circumstances, do all the same things unless stronger motives deter them” (Rousseau as cited in Cahoone 2003, p. 33). ...
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