Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Philosophy

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According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, what is man's state before being influenced by outside forces?

Naturally good and free from vice and error

What did Rousseau assert about human beings' need for outside intervention?

They need outside intervention to develop their natural propensity for good

According to Rousseau, what led to the wide gap between the rich and the poor in the second stage of the state of nature?


What did Rousseau want to offer a logical explanation of, in his Social Contract Theory?

The nature of civil society

In Jean-Jacques Rousseau's noble savage stage, what characterized the people?

Healthy, happy, good, and free

According to Franz Boas, what is the primary assumption of Historical Particularism?

Each society has its own unique historical development and must be understood based on its own specific cultural and environmental context.

What did Franz Boas believe about comparing two cultures?

They were fundamentally different and had to be approached as such.

What did Franz Boas assert in relation to ethics and aesthetics?

Avoid value judgment in Ethics and Aesthetics.

What did Franz Boas believe determined behavior in societies?

Culture, not race, determines behavior.

According to Franz Boas, what is cultural relativism?

The view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context.

Study Notes

Rousseau's Ideas

  • In the state of nature, humans are good, free, and equal, without private property or social classes.
  • Rousseau believed that humans need outside intervention to correct the negative aspects of human nature.
  • The accumulation of private property led to the wide gap between the rich and the poor in the second stage of the state of nature.
  • Rousseau's Social Contract Theory aimed to offer a logical explanation of how people form societies and give up some of their natural rights in exchange for protection and stability.

Noble Savage Stage

  • In the noble savage stage, people were innocent, pure, and good, living in harmony with nature and each other.

Franz Boas' Ideas

Historical Particularism

  • Boas assumed that each culture is unique and should be understood on its own terms, without comparing it to others.
  • Boas believed that comparing two cultures is impossible, as each culture has its own unique characteristics.
  • Boas asserted that ethics and aesthetics are relative to the cultural context, and should not be judged by external standards.
  • Boas believed that behavior in societies is determined by cultural norms and values, not by universal principles.
  • Boas defined cultural relativism as the concept that cultures should be understood and respected in their own terms, without judgment or comparison to others.

Explore the key concepts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy, including the conflict between 'nature' and 'artifice' in society, education, and religion. Understand Rousseau's belief in the natural goodness of man and the influence of external forces on human behavior.

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